According to Donald Trump, the press just doesn’t get his sense of humor.
After spending the past two days telling multiple press outlets and campaign rally attendees that President Barack Obama was “the founder of ISIS,” the Republican nominee sent a tweet saying he was being sarcastic.
Ratings challenged @CNN reports so seriously that I call President Obama (and Clinton) “the founder” of ISIS, & MVP. THEY DON’T GET SARCASM?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2016
On Wednesday, Trump told a crowd in Fort Lauderdale, Florida that both Obama and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton “founded” the terrorist organization.
“He’s the founder of ISIS. He founded ISIS,” Trump said. “And I would say the co-founder would be Crooked Hillary Clinton.”
He doubled down on those comments in a Thursday CNBC interview asking if there was “something wrong” with making the assertion.
Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt gave Trump an opportunity to refine his remarks in another Thursday interview, saying he must have meant that Obama “created the vacuum, he lost the peace.”
“No, I meant he’s the founder of ISIS,” Trump said. “I do. He was the most valuable player. I give him the most valuable player award. I give her, too, by the way, Hillary Clinton.”
He then repeated the claim at a speech before the National Association of Home Builders in Miami.
This is not the first time Trump backers have tried to write off one of the candidate’s inflammatory comments as a joke.
Just this week, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said that Trump’s remark about “Second Amendment people” being able to prevent Clinton from appointing liberal Supreme Court justices sounded like “a joke gone bad.”
The same explanation was used to account for Trump’s assertion at a July press conference that Russia should publicly release emails hacked from Clinton’s personal server if the country’s intelligence officials have access to them.
“The media seems more upset by Trump’s joke about Russian hacking than by the fact that Hillary’s personal server was vulnerable to Russia,” Trump ally Newt Gingrich wrote in a tweet.