Howard Dean, Citing Twitter, Says Clinton’s Claim About Islamic State Recruiting Is True

December 22, 2015

Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean insisted Tuesday that Hillary Clinton’s claim that the Islamic State (ISIS) is using videos of Donald Trump to recruit is true, even though it has been debunked by everybody.

"Howard, I’m curious about the Clinton campaign’s defense of the allegations that she made in the debate about Donald Trump’s words and video of him being used by ISIS," Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski said.

Dean cited Twitter as evidence for Clinton’s assertion.

"It’s pretty obvious. I mean it’s all over Twitter. Al Jazeera is printing and it’s all over the Muslim world," Dean said.

"But she said that the video of Donald Trump is being used by ISIS to recruit. That’s not true," Brzezinski said.

Still, Dean was resolute in his understanding of the truth.

"No, the video of Donald Trump is all over the air, all over the Arab world. Therefore, it is true," he said.

"The video of Donald Trump is all over the world," Brzezinski conceded. "But it’s not being used by ISIS to recruit as far as anyone can confirm. Are you saying that she [Clinton] was saying something that was truthful?"

"Yeah, I think so," Dean said. "I mean, I think it’s on—if you look at Twitter, you’ll see ISIS supporters saying this is … what Americans believe about Muslims. We ought to get going and do some more damage, basically."

A long silence ensued before Brzezinski responded.

"That’s just–what’s going on?" she asked. "Anybody want to help me out?"

"What do you mean?" Scarborough asked Dean.

Dean faltered, saying that ISIS did not itself make a video but that it was using videos of Donald Trump to recruit fighters.

"I don’t think ISIS itself has made a video but it’s all over the Arab world, and ISIS is in fact using videos of Donald Trump trashing Muslims to recruit. That is true," Dean said.

The Morning Joe hosts were incredulous.

"I’m sorry, where are you getting this?" Brzezinski asked.

"Do we have evidence of that?" Scarborough asked.

"Sure. Just look on Twitter," Dean said, holding up his mobile phone as evidence.

"Twitter," Brzezinski repeated.

New York Times reporter Nick Confessore tried to give Dean a helping hand by clarifying his remarks, but his effort was rebuffed by an adamant Dean.

"Most of the fact check organizations, Howard, have not been able to find a specific video that ISIS is using right now of Trump," Confessore said. "Your broader point is accurate, that they are using his ideas, his language on social media."

"I think I’d respectfully disagree," Dean said, prompting another stretch of silence.

"Well, there you have it," Confessore said finally.

"What is your basis, Howard?" Scarborough said, trying one last time for some clarity.

"Because, there is video. There is video of Donald Trump all over the Arab world, available on Twitter where lots and lots of people are, presumably ISIS supporters, are saying this is what Americans think of us. We ought to do something more about it," Dean said, wagging his phone.

After a final moment of silence, Scarborough changed the topic.

"All right. Howard, what are you doing for Christmas?" Scarborough said.