Trump shrugs off appearance in terrorist video

NEW YORK • Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump shrugged off his appearance in a recruitment video posted on Friday by Al-Shabab, an Al-Qaeda affiliate, saying that there was little he could do about it.

"What am I going to do?" Mr Trump said on CBS News' programme Face The Nation.

"I have to say what I have to say." He added: "They've used other people too."

The remarks were his first concerning the video, which emerged two weeks after Mrs Hillary Clinton, who leads in polls of the Democratic contest, said in a debate that Islamic State terrorists were using videos of Mr Trump's comments about Muslims as a recruitment tool. There was no evidence of that when she made those remarks, according to the New York Times.

The video released by Al-Shabab featured a clip of Mr Trump calling for a temporary ban on Muslims coming into the United States in the wake of the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California.

At a rally on Saturday night in Biloxi, Mississippi, Mr Trump also implied that the Obama administration should have heeded his call for the US to seize oil assets controlled by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), instead of allowing the terror group to prosper.

"I've predicted a lot of things, you have to say, including, 'Get the oil, take the oil, keep the oil.' Right? I've been saying that for three years, and everybody said, 'Oh, I can't do that. I mean, this is a sovereign country. There is no country!" Mr Trump said. "They've created ISIS. Hillary Clinton created ISIS with Obama."

He also charged that Iran was trying to take over Saudi Arabia, following tensions that followed Riyadh's decision to execute a Shi'ite cleric.

"In Teheran, they're burning down the Saudi embassy, you see that?" Mr Trump said as he opened his remarks. "Now, what that is is Iran wants to take over Saudi Arabia. They always have. They want the oil, OK? They've always wanted that," he was quoted as saying in the Guardian daily.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 04, 2016, with the headline 'Trump shrugs off appearance in terrorist video'. Print Edition | Subscribe