Donald Trump in a foreign policy address on Monday pegged the blame for the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria on President Obama and Hillary Clinton.  

“The rise of ISIS is the direct result of policy decisions made by President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton,” he told supporters at a rally in Youngstown, Ohio. 

“The decisions made by the Obama/Clinton group have been absolutely disastrous.” 

The speech represented a shift in Trump’s argument from last week, when he repeatedly accused Obama and Clinton of being the founders of ISIS.  

The accusation came under criticism from figures in both parties and led to days of stories in which Trump alternately said he had been sarcastic or serious about the claims.  

Trump painted a rosy picture of the state of the Middle East before Obama’s tenure, arguing that the situation in Syria, Libya, Egypt and Iraq, as well as with radical Islamic terror and the groups that eventually became ISIS, all worsened under Obama and Clinton’s leadership. 

“The Obama/Clinton foreign policy has unleashed ISIS, destabilized the Middle East, and put the nation of Iran, which chants ‘Death to America,’ in a dominant position of regional power and in fact aspiring to be a dominant world power.”

Trump’s speech is expected to further clarify his national security platform and release a new litmus test to prevent immigration of those who could be a danger to America. 

The speech comes as Trump faces declining election polling across the board. While national security has typically been an issue of strength for Republicans, Trump is polling about even with Clinton on the issue. 

He started his speech by running down a lengthy list of some of the most brutal ISIS attacks across the globe, claiming an ISIS attack outside of a “war zone” every 84 hours and arguing that America must accept its next great challenge. 

“In the 20th century, the United States has defeated Fascism, Nazism, and Communism. Now a different threat challenges our world: radical Islamic terrorism,” he said. 

“We cannot let this evil continue, nor can we let the hateful ideology of radical Islam, it’s oppression of women, gays, children and non-believers be allowed to reside or spread within our own countries.” 

Trump has faced a series of bad headlines on national security over the past few weeks. He drew significant criticism for calling President Obama the “founder” of ISIS just days after 50 high-profile Republican national security officials denounced Trump as a national security risk in a public letter. 

More recently, he’s been dogged by a Sunday night New York Times report that claimed that hidden ledgers from the political party of the former pro-Russia Ukrainian president showed almost $13 million in secret payments to Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. 

The Clinton campaign has seized on the report, denied by the Trump campaign, to bash Trump for his ties to Russia in light of the recent Democratic Party hack pinned to the Russians.

Tags Donald Trump Hillary Clinton ISIS Paul Manafort

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