Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton went after Republican counterpart Donald Trump at the ABC News debate Saturday night, dubbing him “ISIS’ best recruiter.”
Moderator David Muir cited Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the US and asked what Clinton would say to the millions of Americans who say they support it.
Trump gave his proposal after the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, in which a radical-jihadist couple attacked a community center and left 14 people dead.
“A lot of people are understandably reacting out of fear and anxiety about what they’re seeing [with terrorist attacks], and Mr. Trump has a great capacity to use bluster and bigotry to inflame people and to make them think there are easy answers to very complex questions,” Clinton said.
She said the US must stand united against terrorist threats and to make sure that “Muslim Americans don’t feel left out or marginalized at the very moment when we need their help.” Clinton cited President George W. Bush reaching out to the Muslim community after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and telling them that they are not the US’ adversary.
“We have to make sure the really discriminatory messages Donald Trump is sending around the world do not fall on receptive ears,” Clinton said.
“He is becoming ISIS’ best recruiter,” she charged. “They are going to people showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists.”
It’s unclear whether ISIS — the terrorist group also known as the Islamic State, ISIL, and Daesh — has been showing potential recruits videos of Trump. But ISIS does push the message that there is a clash of civilizations between Islam and the West. (The Clinton campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.)
ISIS believes that there will be a final battle in Syria between the “crusaders” of the West and the Islamic fighters of the terrorist group. Some experts argue that Trump’s rhetoric, which has been widely perceived as anti-Muslim, can help validate ISIS’ message.