Washington (CNN) — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said Donald Trump was being “serious” when he spoke this week about President Barack Obama being the “founder” of ISIS, saying that the GOP nominee “getting people’s attention.”
Speaking with “Fox News Sunday,” Trump’s running mate was asked to clear up whether Trump was being sarcastic, as he tweeted on Friday, or being serious, as he said multiple times throughout the week.
“I think he was being very serious,” Pence said. “He was making a point that needs to be made, that there is no question that the failed policies of President Barack Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in the wider Middle East, created a vacuum within Iraq in which ISIS was able to arise.”
Pence said Trump was making a “serious point” to call attention to the issue.
“Donald Trump has a way of talking to get people’s attention, and it’s drawn attention to a very important issue,” Pence said.
Trump ran through a series of comments during the week, repeatedly calling Obama and Clinton the co-founders of ISIS, and declining opportunities in interviews to say he was speaking metaphorically. He later said he was sarcastic, but then also said he was being “not that sarcastic.”
Fox’s Chris Wallace pressed Pence, asking if the “sarcastic excuse” is “getting a bit old.” He cited Trump’s past comments inviting Russia to access and release Clinton’s emails, then later walking them back as a joke.
“I don’t think it’s getting old at all,” Pence said. “Donald Trump made his way through a very competitive primary because he spoke not like your typical politician, but just plainly like and everyday American … They’re going to have a president who tells them exactly what’s on his mind, and the American people are going to hear him, and hear him loud and clear.”