Monday morning, Hillary "I definitely didn't create the vacuum that led to ISIS" Clinton held a press conference in White Plaines, New York, at which she slammed Republican nominee Donald Trump for his "rhetoric" on Islam.
After a reporter asked Clinton if the recent attacks in New York and New Jersey may be an attempt to tilt the election toward Trump, Clinton responded in part:
"I don't want to speculate, but here's what we know," said Clinton, "a lot of the rhetoric we've heard from Donald Trump has been seized on by terrorists -- in particular, ISIS -- because they are looking to make this into a war against Islam, rather than a war against jihadists, violent terrorists... They want or use that to recruit more fighters to their cause, by turning it into a religious conflict."
Clinton went on to claim that Trump's comments have been "used online for recruitment of terrorists." She said that's been confirmed by former CIA Director Michael Hayden. She also noted that former head of the National Counter-terrorism Center, Matt Olson, said that Trumpian rhetoric is giving "aide and comfort to our adversaries."
Those specific words are used to describe treason, by the way.
It's true that Michael Hayden blasted Trump's rhetoric when speaking to Al Jazeera in March. He said the mogul's rhetoric has "made Americans less safe," because it reinforces the radical Islamist narrative of "undying enmity between Islam and the western world."
Here's the thing. That "undying enmity?" It existed long before Donald Trump started blabbing about a Muslim ban.
First, let's forget about al-Qaeda and 9/11, which took place 14 years before Trump started his presidential run. Let's focus on ISIS.
The Islamic State, which began expanding rapidly in 2011, took advantage of "growing instability in Iraq and Syria," according to the Wilson Center. By 2013, they had officially taken the name Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
By January 2014, when President Obama referred to them as the "JV team," ISIS had already taken over Fallujah, and parts of Ramadi. By mid-2014, they'd taken Raqqa, Mosul, and Tikrit as well, killing numerous innocents in the process.
On June 29, 2014, ISIS announced the establishment of a "caliphate." Three months later, the CIA estimated that the Islamic State had "between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters across Iraq and Syria," noting the sharp rise in numbers from the original estimate of 10,000 was due in part to "stronger recruitment since June following battlefield successes and the declaration of a caliphate."
This was all before Donald Trump came on the scene.
It's true that Donald Trump was shown in alleged Al Shabaab and ISIS videos. It's true that he's floated the idea of a Muslim ban. Try not to focus on the fact that this "ban" has mutated multiple times like every other one of his policies.
Bottom line: Radical Islam doesn't need Trump to recruit, nor is the mogul the prime recruiting tool for jihadists. That game was already set years ago.