Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is set to say Monday how he would combat Islamic terrorism, just days after claiming President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton founded the Islamic State militant group.
Trump, a real estate tycoon seeking his first elected office, has for months said he would be tougher on jihadists in the Middle East than Obama, but has yet to spell out a specific plan of attack. Trump ignited a new round of criticism of his candidacy last week when he said, falsely, that Obama and Clinton created Islamic State.Trump, after repeating the claim, later said he meant the remark as sarcasm.
One of Trump's key supporters, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, told ABC television Sunday that Trump "is going to talk about how we restore credibility with our allies and friends in that region who also are hostile to and resist this kind of terrorism. He is going to talk about how you target your enemies and work with your friends, you do not overreach and destabilize countries like Obama-Clinton has done."
Trump's vice presidential running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, said Trump will offer "real specifics" about how he would combat Islamic State.
A Clinton supporter, former U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, said the Republican candidate needs to disclose his specific plan.
"I think what would be appropriate is for Donald Trump, instead of making some outrageous claim, that somehow President Obama is the father of ISIS (IS), which is a lie, he ought to present what strategy he would implement to defeat ISIS," Panetta said. "Instead, he says he has a secret plan, and nobody knows what that plan is all about."
Clinton, a former U.S. secretary of state looking to become the country's first female president, has moved to roughly a seven-percentage-point advantage over Trump in national political surveys and also holds leads in several battleground election states where the outcome of the November 8 contest is likely to be decided.
In a series of comments Sunday on his Twitter account, Trump blamed the news media for his standing in the race against Clinton to replace Obama when he leaves office next January.
"If the disgusting and corrupt media covered me honestly and did not put false meaning into the words I say, I would be beating Hillary by 20 percent," Trump said.
In another, he said, "My rallies are not covered properly by the media.They never discuss the real message and never show crowd size or enthusiasm."
Numerous former Republican officials, most of whom served in some capacity during the administrations of former President George H.W. Bush and his son, President George W. Bush, the last two Republican presidents, have said in recent days they could not support Trump's candidacy. They have often said that he is ill-prepared to lead the country or does not have the appropriate temperament.
The latest to reject Trump's campaign was the younger Bush's commerce chief, Carlos Gutierrez.
Republican officials in Washington have contemplated whether to drop their financial support for Trump and instead focus their efforts on Republican candidates running for Senate and House seats in Congress.Trump says he will stop raising money for the national party if it withdraws support from him.