By Maggie Haberman – – – – –
Donald J. Trump shrugged off his appearance in a recruitment video posted Friday by the Shabab, an Al Qaeda affiliate, saying there was little he could do about it.
“What am I going to do?” Mr. Trump told John Dickerson of CBS News, who hosts “Face The Nation.” “I have to say what I have to say.”
He added: “They’ve used other people too.”
The remarks were Mr. Trump’s first concerning the Shabab’s video. The video emerged two weeks after 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.
The video released by the 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, Calif.
At a rally Saturday night in Biloxi, Miss., Mr. Trump pointed to his candidacy as the right one to challenge “certain advantages” that Democrats have electorally.
“There are certain advantages that they have — you have to pick the right guy,” Mr. Trump said. Republican leaders and donors have repeatedly said that Mr. Trump’s comments about immigrants and Muslims will harm the party’s prospects of attracting new voters among emerging electoral groups such as Hispanics.
Mr. Trump blamed Mrs. Clinton and President Obama for the rise of the Islamic State. And he suggested that his supporters were the best possible to have.
“We have the smartest people — we sort of have everything,” he said, adding that everywhere he goes, “We’re all the same. We all — everybody I see, they want to make America great again.”
At another point, he praised the Second Amendment and promised to “unsign” any executive orders by Mr. Obama adding restrictions on obtaining guns.
Mr. Trump also led the crowd in a period of sustained booing of the news media at the back of the packed arena, singling out one cameraman as the focus of his ire and calling his own treatment by the press “unfair.”
If he could, Mr. Trump said, he would fire the cameraman right now, a remark that drew great applause.