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Trump seeks Clinton apology after Islamic State recruitment claim

By Ed Adamczyk
Trump seeks Clinton apology after Islamic State recruitment claim
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump demanded an apology from Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton for suggesting his remarks are being used as Islamic State recruiting tools. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump demanded an apology from Hillary Clinton on Monday after she said the Islamic State used his comments to recruit fighters.

Speaking Saturday at a nationally televised debate of Democratic presidential candidates in Goffstown, N.H., Clinton called Trump the militant group's "best recruiter."

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"They are going to people showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists," she said.

Trump slammed Clinton on Monday after her comments came under scrutiny.

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"I demand an apology from Hillary Clinton for the disgusting story she made up about me for purposes of the debate. There never was a video," Trump tweeted Monday.

Trump has come under criticism for suggesting all Muslims should be temporarily barred from entering the United States until a better picture emerges of whether pro-jihad Muslims are entering the country. His comments came after it was revealed the assailants in the Dec. 2 mass shooting in San Bernadino, Calif., were a U.S.-born Muslim and legal permanent U.S. resident from Pakistan. The two were "homegrown violent extremists," FBI Director James Comey said, with sympathies toward foreign terrorist organizations.

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In a television interview Monday morning, Trump added, "[Clinton] always lies."

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"She lies about emails, she lies about Whitewater, she lies about everything," he said, referring to a real estate scandal which erupted during her husband's presidential administration.

Jen Palmieri, communications director of the Clinton campaign, told ABC News, in an interview Monday she could not identify specific examples of IS use of Trump's remarks as a recruiting tool, but said, "she's not referring to a specific video, but he is being used in social media by ISIS as propaganda."

The Clinton campaign cites a comment, made to NBC News, by an analyst of the SITE Intelligence Group, which did not specifically mention videos featuring Trump by IS. The group is also identified as Daesh, ISIS and ISIL.

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"We have seen low-level ISIS supporters talk about Trump's remarks but nothing from core-ISIS and its influential supporters," Seamus Hughes of the George Washington University Program on Extremism told ABC News.

The fact-checking journalism agency Politifact, researching Clinton's accusations, said "extensive Google searches did not turn up any evidence" of specific videos.

Politifact said the Clinton campaign has offered evidence from analysts suggesting Trump's rhetoric could find willing listeners, including a comment by David Phillips Columbia University's Institute for the Study of Human Rights.

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"Trump's incendiary anti-Muslim comments will surely be used by ISIS social media to demonize the United States and attract recruits to fight in Iraq and Syria," he said.

It concluded there is no evidence of Clinton's accusation, although others have speculated Trump's comments are angering the Muslim world. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y., said in a Dec. 14 interview that "Donald Trump could be a recruitment poster for ISIS because he is fanning the flames of hate."

Similarly, Robert Kuttner, writing in the magazine American Prospect, called Trump's speeches "like an ISIS recruiting video."

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