In an attempt to defend his controversial claims that the president supports the terrorist group, the presumptive Republican nominee tweeted a story from anti-Obama website Breitbart.com that cites a newly discovered “secret” memo the website says proves Obama is an ISIS supporter.
The memo, as it turns out, is neither secret nor does it demonstrate the administration’s support for ISIS or any other policy. Indeed, it’s a recently declassified and heavily redacted intelligence field report from August 2012 about the worsening security situation in Iraq, obtained by the conservative watchdog Judicial Watch through a Freedom of Information lawsuit.
Breitbart falsely concludes that because the memo mentions that al Qaeda in Iraq (a precursor to ISIS) is fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the Obama administration therefore supports ISIS.
The Obama administration, particularly through its State Department, has spoken at length about the complicated process of vetting the array of opposition groups in order to avoid supporting those with ties to extremism.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest Monday responded to a question about Trump's claims the same day. "Well, I think what is clear is, if you take a look at the president’s record, it speaks for itself,” Earnest said. “And that record includes a lot of dead terrorists."
Trump is no stranger to pushing conspiracy theories. He practically gave birth to the "birther" movement, which aimed to prove President Obama was not a U.S.-born citizen. That saga ended in dramatic fashion after the president produced his birth certificate to the public. Trump also has a history questioning Obama's Christian faith, once claiming that this birth certificate may list him a Muslim.
Trump also claims, despite any evidence, that "thousands and thousands" of Muslims were cheering from rooftops in New Jersey as the World Trade towers fell on 9/11. He suggested that Supreme Court Jusitce Antonin Scalia may have been murdered. He said that Sen. Ted Cruz's father might have been implicated in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
He has said repeatedly that Obama didn't have the grades to get into the Ivy league schools, suggesting he might not have attended Columbia and Harvard.
Trump has often expressed his belief that autism is caused by childhood vaccinations, a discredited claim opposed by public health officials. And he recently alleged that Hillary Clinton was involved in the death of Vince Foster, a former White House aide who committed suicide in 1993.