Donald Trump claimed Wednesday night during a raucous south Florida campaign rally that President Barack Obama and his first secretary of state Hillary Clinton were the ‘founder’ and ‘co-founder’ of the ISIS terror army.
His stunning claim came at the end of a pointed lecture recounting the conditions that led the regional militant group called al-Qaeda in Iraq to grow its ambitions – and blaming the president for creating the power vacuum that terrorists rushed in to fill.
‘In many respects, you know, they honor President Obama. ISIS is honoring President Obama,’ Trump said, working himself into a lather at the end of a full day of campaigning in two states.
‘He is the founder of ISIS. He is the founder of ISIS, okay? He’s the founder! He founded ISIS!’ he continued, always crescendoing.
‘And I would say,’ Trump added more solemnly, getting to his election-year point: ‘The co-founder would be crooked Hillary Clinton. Co-founder! Crooked Hillary Clinton! And that’s what it’s about!’
Trump has made claims before that Obama precipitously pulled U.S. forces out of Iraq on a predetermined date, giving ISIS room to breathe and expand.
But Wednesday marked the first time he has credited the current White House with the creation of the self-described ‘Islamic State.’
Minutes later in what may be interpreted as a dog-whistle to his Islamoskeptic fans, Trump uttered another rarity, referring to the president with his Arab middle name.
Responding to complaints that he had misinterpreted the recent geopolitics of Russia and Ukraine, he declared that the Crimea ‘was taken’ by Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘during the administration of Barack Hussein Obama.’
Trump’s figurative case that Obama ‘founded’ ISIS rests on his contention that the president disrupted a delicate balance of power between Iran and Iraq, two countries afflicted by more than eight decades of border disputes.
‘We had a president who decided he would announce a date, and he was gonna get out by that date. The problem is, the enemy, which really turned out to be ISIS, the enemy was sitting back and actually didn’t believe that this could be happening,’ he said.
Trump criticized Obama for failing to leave ‘some small forces’ behind in Iraq to keep order.
The result, he said, was predictable chaos with Iran the dominant aggressor but ISIS reclaiming dominance in broad swaths of Iraq.
‘You know, for years and years these two countries fought,’ he said. ‘Decades and decades and decades they’d fight. That’s what they did – they’d fight.’
‘And they’d fight for four years and stop. Then they’d fight for four more years. Saddam Hussein would drop gas, everybody would complain. Tremendous, tremendous carnage. And they’d stop. Then they’d start.’
‘It would never change,’ in Trump’s reading of history, ‘because you had military powers of essentially the same strength.’
‘And then,’ he said, President George W. Bush invaded Iraq and ‘decimated one of the powers, and we unleashed fury all over the Middle East. And it was a terrible mistake.’
‘And then Obama came in,’ he continued. ‘And normally you want to clean up. He made a bigger mess out of it. He made such a mess. And then you had Hillary with Libya. So sad.’
During the rally he also unveiled a number of new signs including one pitting himself against Clinton showing how much of their campaigns were funded by hedge funders.
He also unveiled a chart showing home ownership rates plummeting over the years.
This article originally appeared on the Daily Mail.