Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Friday played down his widely criticized claims that President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton were "co-founders" of the Islamic State (ISIS) group.
Trump explained he was being sarcastic when he made the remarks and asserted that the media was missing his sarcasm, CNN reported.
"Ratings challenged @CNN reports so seriously that I call President Obama (and Clinton) "the founder" of ISIS, & MVP. THEY DON'T GET SARCASM?" Trump tweeted.
The tweet was the first move by Trump to moderate his comments, which he had repeated multiple times since he featured them in a speech Wednesday night and which came under fire from the Clinton campaign and many Democrats.
Clinto on Thursday admonished Trump over the comments, saying anyone who would "sink so low" should never be president.
"No, Barack Obama is not the founder of ISIS," Clinton tweeted, adding, "Anyone willing to sink so low, so often should never be allowed to serve as our Commander-in-Chief."
Trump's attorney Michael Cohen told CNN on Friday that the candidate will give a speech Monday focusing on defeating "radical Islamic terrorism."
"Only Mr. Trump can answer and will answer for his tweet and statement," Cohen said. "The mainstream media wants to pick on every single word. Again, I think Mr. Trump will answer this question better than anybody else, and I think it should be left for him to answer."
Meanwhile, Trump supporter Newt Gingrich on Friday said that the GOP nominee has failed to understand the importance of being precise.
"One of the things that's frustrating about his candidacy is the imprecise language," Gingrich was quoted as having said in an interview. "He sometimes uses three words when he needs 10."
Gingrich said if Trump had said Obama and Clinton's policies had created the opening for ISIS, he'd be defensible.
"When you instead compress them into 'Obama created ISIS,' I know what Trump has in his mind, but that's not what people hear," Gingrich said, adding, "He has got to learn to use language that has been thought through and that is clear to everybody, and to stick to that language."
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)