Donald Trump seemed to suggest that President Barack Obama had an ulterior motive concerning how he addresses and handles terror attacks, because he does not say the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism.”
“We’re led by a man who is very – look, we’re led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or he’s got something else in mind. And the something else in mind, you know, people can’t believe it,” Trump said Monday morning on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends.”
“People cannot believe, they cannot believe that President Obama is acting the way he acts and he can’t even mention the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism.’ There’s something going on. It’s inconceivable. There’s something going on.”
Asked earlier why he had tweeted that Obama should resign because he wouldn’t say the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism,” Trump said, “He doesn’t get it or he gets it better than anybody understands. It’s one or the other, and either one is unacceptable.”
Later in the day, White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters he hasn’t spoken with the President about what Trump had said, but he added, “When you are focused on something as big as helping the country respond to the worst mass shooting in our nation’s history, when you are focused on something as big as safeguarding the country and combating violent extremism, it’s important not to get distracted by things that are so small.”
A Trump spokeswoman did not respond to a request for an explanation of what Trump meant. But asked on NBC’s “Today Show” about the comments, Trump said that “a lot of people” thought Obama does not want to understand terrorism.
“Well, there a lot of people who think maybe he doesn’t want to get it. A lot of people think maybe he doesn’t want to know about it. I happen to think he just doesn’t know what he’s doing, but there are many people that think maybe he doesn’t want to get it, he doesn’t want to see what’s really happening,” Trump told NBC.
And later, speaking to Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, Trump offered yet another explanation when questioned about what he meant.
“I can’t define it. Nobody knows what’s going on. Nobody knows why (Obama) doesn’t have more anger, more competitive zeal,” Trump said Monday evening. “It’s almost like he’s falling asleep.”
The comment is similar to how Trump talked about Obama when Trump was leading the “birther” attacks against the president five years ago. Trump defended himself in a May interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer by accusing Hillary Clinton of starting the “birther” attack on Obama during the 2008 primaries.
Trump has been on the defense since tweeting Sunday that he did not need congratulations for being “right” about the Orlando nightclub shooting. On Sunday, Trump tweeted that Obama should resign for not using the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism.” Obama dubbed the shooting an “act of terror” and an “act of hate” in his response Sunday afternoon.