Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt asked Trump about statements he had made the previous night, when he claimed Obama was “the founder” of the terrorist organization.
Hewitt suggested Trump hadn’t meant his statement to be taken literally, but the candidate cut him off.
“No, I meant he’s the founder of ISIS. I do. He was the most valuable player. I give him the most valuable player award,” Trump said. “I give her, too, by the way, Hillary Clinton.”
Speaking at a campaign rally in Florida on Wednesday, Trump called Clinton, his Democratic presidential challenger, an ISIS “co-founder.”
Hewitt challenged Trump about this line of attack on Obama.
“But he’s not sympathetic to them. He hates them. He’s trying to kill them,” Hewitt said, according to a transcript of the show.
“I don’t care. He was the founder. His, the way he got out of Iraq was that that was the founding of ISIS, OK?” Trump said.
Hewitt argued that “liberals” allowed terrorism to flourish, but suggested Trump went too far.
“But by using the term ‘founder,’ they’re hitting with you on this again. Mistake?” he asked.
“No, it’s no mistake. Everyone’s liking it. I think they’re liking it. I give him the most valuable player award. And I give it to him, and I give it to, I gave the co-founder to Hillary. I don’t know if you heard that,” Trump said.
Trump made similar comments Thursday morning on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” program.
“But he was the founder, absolutely the founder,” Trump said. “In sports, they have awards. He gets the most valuable player award ― him and Hillary. I mean, she gets it too.”
Trump parroted these views during an interview with NBC South Florida on Thursday afternoon.
“I meant exactly that. He’s the founder of ISIS,” he said. “He is the most valuable player. They should give, you know, in athletics, we get awards. You’re the best player on the team, most valuable player. He should get the most valuable player award from ISIS.”
“But why?” reporter Jackie Nespral asked him.
“When he took the soldiers out. When he took the troops out. Look, he should have never been there. We should have never been there. It was the worst decision, one of the worst decisions, maybe the worst we ever made to be there in the first place. I was totally against going into Iraq,” Trump said, repeating a false claim that he opposed the 2003 invasion.
“Now, I was a civilian so nobody cared,” he added. “But I was against the war in Iraq. I said it was going to destabilize the Middle East.”
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims ― 1.6 billion members of an entire religion ― from entering the U.S.
This article has been updated with comments from Trump’s interview with NBC South Florida.