On Thursday, Donald Trump called Barack Obama the “founder of ISIS” many, many times. Given the opportunity to explain that he meant the comment figuratively, Trump insisted on the literal truth of his claim.
Asked whether he thought it was “appropriate to call the sitting president of the United States the founder of a terrorist organization that wants to kill Americans,” Trump replied, “He was the founder of ISIS. Absolutely.”
When a CNBC host suggested that such rhetoric might not play well in battleground states, Trump insisted that his commitment to the truth took precedence over political expediency.
“Whatever it is, it is,” Trump said of the effect his comments might have on undecided voters. “I’m a truth teller. All I do is tell the truth. And if at the end of 90 days, I’ve fallen short … it’s OK.”
And then, roughly 24 hours later, Trump mocked the media for believing him when he swears he’s telling the truth.
Later Friday morning, Trump reiterated these sentiments in a video message.
Trump has attacked the press for a lot of things over the past 14 months. But this is the first time he’s assailed the Fourth Estate for giving him too much credence when he insists that he’s being honest.
And it’s a fair criticism — one brings to mind Trump’s favorite bit of verse: