ERIE, Pa. — Donald Trump was being sarcastic 'but not that sarcastic" when he called President Barack Obama the "founder of ISIS."
"Obviously I'm being sarcastic. Then — but not that sarcastic, to be honest with you," Trump said during a rally here.
Trump even acknowledged that some tried to tell him to instead say Obama was an "enabler."
"I said that doesn't sound the same," he added, saying he uses the line "all the time so they knew I was being sarcastic."
The GOP nominee alleged media bias and misinterpretation in a tweet early Friday morning about the controversial comments where he called the president and Hillary Clinton "co-founders of ISIS" and suggested they would win a theoretical ISIS Most Valuable Player award. But one day earlier, he used the phrase on several occasions in rallies and interviews — and even responded point blank to an alternate interpretation of his comments that what he meant was what he said.
"You mean that he created the vacuum, he lost the peace," conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt suggested to Trump on Thursday in an interview.
"No, I meant he's the founder of ISIS," Trump responded.
Even while acknowledging that he wasn't being "that sarcastic" about the President's role in the spread of ISIS, Trump continued to rail against the media as "the lowest form of humanity" because reporters have tried to dig in to the veracity and ramifications of his hyperbolic comment.
He maintained, however, that Obama's "weak and bad' leadership allowed for ISIS's expansion.
"I mean, he let this happen," Trump said.
The former reality star also clashed with protesters, adding a new line to go along with his usual dismissals of "bye, bye" and "get 'em out."
Responding to a Black Lives Matter protester, Trump told the man to "go home to mom" before adding a classic schoolyard "yo momma" barb. "And your mom's voting for Trump," he said to cheers.
After a week of surprise appearances from pro-Trump surrogates, like Gov. Mike Huckabee and former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus warmed up the Pennsylvania crowd telling them that 2016 was a "battle for freedom."
Trump later lashed out to his former rivals who had yet to endorse him saying "we were just having fun" in the primaries - "get over it." He also acknowledged that the pledge, signed by all GOP 2016 contenders at the request of the RNC, was done mainly to keep him in check.
Noting that his opponents had signed but not kept their word, Trump said it was a "funny thing" because the pledges were signed "so that I would sign them." Despite vacillating on his adherence to the pledge throughout the primary, Trump still maintained on Friday that if he were his his rivals' position, he would've kept his word. "I would've honored it," Trump said.