Hillary Clinton’s claim that the Islamic State is using videos of Donald Trump to recruit more fighters is being panned by fact-checkers – and sharply challenged by Trump himself.
As might be expected, the Republican front-runner fired back Sunday at the former secretary of state’s claim from Saturday’s debate.
“It's nonsense. It's just another Hillary lie. She lies like crazy about everything,” Trump said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Clinton alleged during the debate in New Hampshire that Trump is becoming “ISIS’ best recruiter.”
“They are going to people showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists,” she said.
Like Trump’s claim that “thousands” of Muslims in America celebrated 9/11, this claim by Clinton was swiftly vetted by fact-checkers -- and found to be lacking concrete evidence.
PolitiFact rated the claim “false.”
The outfit noted that the Clinton campaign cited an NBC News article quoting the SITE Intelligence Group’s Rita Katz. In the piece, Katz said of terror groups, “They follow everything Donald Trump says. … When he says, 'No Muslims should be allowed in America,' they tell people, 'We told you America hates Muslims and here is proof.'"
Another analyst in that piece said Trump’s “anti-Muslim comments” would be used by ISIS social media to “demonize” the U.S. and draw in recruits.
Yet such comments refer to expectations about what ISIS will do – and not what ISIS is currently doing.
“For now, it seems that Clinton has turned speculative left-of-center rhetoric into fact,” PolitiFact wrote. “… We were unable to find any evidence to support [the claim]. The Clinton campaign did not provide any evidence that this is already happening -- only that it could be happening, or that it may in the future. If ISIS was using Trump for recruitment videos, we would expect a frenzy of media coverage over it.”
The Washington Post Fact Checker also caught up with Katz, who told them that ISIS has not featured Trump in a video – “but ISIS supporters and recruiters have used Trump’s rhetoric to promote ISIS’ ideas and agenda.”
The Associated Press fact check also said Clinton has “no evidence” to back up her debate claim on the videos.
Clinton spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri acknowledged Sunday the campaign is aware of no such ISIS video but maintained that jihadis are capitalizing on Trump's comments about Muslims through social media.
"She didn't have a particular video in mind, but he is being used in social media,” she told ABC News’ “This Week.”
"If you go back and look at social media, if you look at what's going on, they are definitely pointing at Mr. Trump," Clinton campaign chairman, John Podesta, said on "Meet the Press." But he cited no ISIS videos.
The conservative RedState.com also pointed out that an existing ISIS recruiting video actually shows an image of Bill Clinton – but not Trump.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.