Donald Trump stated Friday that he was only being "sarcastic" when he said that President Obama founded the terror group Islamic State, and the Republican presidential nominee blamed the news media for misrepresenting him by taking his statement seriously.
Ratings challenged @CNN reports so seriously that I call President Obama (and Clinton) "the founder" of ISIS, & MVP. THEY DON%27T GET SARCASM?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2016
?His absurd accusation brought him under fire from not only the media, but members of his own party.
WATCH: Trump on Obama, Clinton and Islamic State
Republican VIPs decline support
And for the second time this week, a group of prominent Republicans released a statement saying they will not support Donald Trump for president.
More than 70 party members, including former congressmen and senior members of the Reagan administration and both President Bush administrations, sent a letter to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus arguing that the party committee should focus on helping its House and Senate candidates, instead of Trump.
They say they want the RNC to stop using Republican money, time, staff and advertising to support Trump, a candidate whose chances of winning in November are "evaporating by the day."
Among other reasons, they cite his verbal duel with the parents of a Muslim American soldier killed in Iraq, hints that gun rights backers should shoot Hillary Clinton, and "lying about scores of issues, large and small."
Republican communications operative Andrew Weinstein tells VOA "if the RNC doesn't immediately shift its focus, the Trump train wreck in November could destroy our congressional majorities as well. We can't afford to wait any longer to focus our resources on the races we can win, rather than burning more money on an unelectable presidential candidate."
There has been no response so far from the Trump campaign to the latest criticisms from his fellow party members.
Islamic State's 'MVP'
Last Monday, 50 former Republican national security advisors, intelligence chiefs and trade representatives signed their own letter saying, "None of us will vote for Donald Trump." They said not only is Trump unqualified to be president, but that he would be a dangerous commander-in-chief and "the most reckless president in American history."
Earlier Thursday, Trump called President Barack Obama "the founder" of Islamic State and Hillary Clinton its "most valuable player."
It can be difficult to muster outrage as frequently as Donald Trump should cause it, but his smear against President Obama requires it.— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 11, 2016
No, Barack Obama is not the founder of ISIS.— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 11, 2016
The candidate refused to back down or moderate his comment when he was given a chance during an interview with U.S. radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt, who is a Trump supporter.
Hewitt asked Trump if he meant that Obama lost the peace and "created a vacuum" in Iraq and Libya that let Islamic State emerge.
"No, I meant he is the founder of ISIS. I do...I give him the most valuable player award. I give her too, by the way, Hillary Clinton."
Trump said "I don't care" when Hewitt reminded him that Obama hates Islamic State and is trying to kill it.
"If he would have done things properly, you wouldn't have had ISIS. Therefore, he is the founder of ISIS."
The Democratic National Committee called Trump's ISIS comments "outrageous, unhinged".
"This is yet another out of control statement by a candidate who is unraveling before our very eyes," a DNC statement said.
Clinton focusing on jobs plan
Hillary Clinton was in Warren, Michigan, where she formally unveiled her economic plans -- most of which already were revealed during various campaign speeches all week.
They include creating 10 million jobs rebuilding crumbling roads, bridges and ports; taking away the tax breaks for U.S. companies that move jobs overseas, and making college and child care more affordable.
WATCH: Clinton on her economic plan
In a rare agreement with Trump, Clinton said she opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and will name a special prosecutor to hold countries accountable for breaking global trade rules.
Clinton said the Trump package of tax cuts for the rich and for corporations will push the country back into recession and do nothing to help most Americans.