With his improvised, frequently contradictory policy statements, Donald Trump’s proposals have often better resembled a Rorschach test than a traditional political platform. On Monday, however, the presumptive Republican nominee offered his clearest rejection of authorial intent yet, tasking the American people with decoding his claim that “there’s something going on” with President Obama and radical Islam.
During interviews Monday morning, Trump repeatedly implied that Obama might have ulterior motives for not mentioning “radical Islamic terrorism” in the wake of the Orlando Pulse shooting, saying, among other things, the President either “doesn’t get it or he gets it better than anybody understands.” When later asked by conservative talk show host Howie Carr to explain what he meant, Trump deferred to the imaginations of presumably more lucid conspiracy theorists. From Buzzfeed (emphasis added):
“Well, you know, I’ll let people figure that out for themselves Howie,” Trump said on the Howie Carr Show. “Cause to be honest with you there certainly doesn’t seem to be a lot anger or passion when he – when we want to demand retribution for what happened over the weekend.”
“There was certainly not a lot of passion,” continued Trump. “There was certainly not a lot of anger. You know, I’ll let that, we’ll let people figure it out. But it’s very, very, it’s a very sad situation when we have the kind of a tragedy that we had and we have a president that gave a press conference and talks about gun control. This was a licensed person, who could have had a gun anyway.”
Taking him at his word, The Washington Post did just as Trump suggested and attempted to “figure out” his comments, concluding that Trump “seemed to repeatedly accuse President Obama on Monday of identifying with radicalized Muslims who have carried out terrorist attacks.” For their close reading effort, the Trump campaign then revoked the Post’s press credentials.
“I am no fan of President Obama, but to show you how dishonest the phony Washington Post is, they wrote, ‘Donald Trump suggests President Obama was involved with Orlando shooting’ as their headline,” wrote Trump on Facebook. “Sad!”