MILFORD, N.H. — Sen. Marco Rubio on Sunday said Donald Trump is “not the cause of radical jihadists” and dismissed an alleged terrorist recruiting video featuring the GOP frontrunner as ultimately insignificant.
“Those radical jihadists do not exist because of Donald Trump or any other campaign, they were gonna be around no matter what because they have a radical ideology and they are pursuing it violently around the world,” he told reporters after a town hall event in New Hampshire.
“Ultimately, he’s not the cause of radical jihadists. The cause of radical jihadism is a radical view and extremist view of the world, and they need to be defeated. They’re gonna continue to spread until they’re confronted.”
His comments came in response to reports that the terrorist group al Shabaab used a clip of Trump in a recruiting video, something many Democrats and some Republicans have warned could be the outcome of Trump’s aggressive anti-Muslim rhetoric on the campaign trail.
Rubio has before criticized Trump for his comments against Muslims, most recently calling his proposed ban on Muslims from immigrating to the U.S. “offensive and outlandish” and accusing him of suggesting it to “recapture the limelight.” But then, too, he withheld some criticism, saying on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Trump “touched on some issues that people are concerned about.”
“He is reminding us in that process that people are really upset and they’re really scared,” Rubio said. “And they’re worried.”