Chuck Todd Pins Trump Spox: You’re ‘Creating A Reality That Does Not Exist!’ (VIDEO)

MSNBC Screen Capture

TPM LIVEWIRE

Over the course of a tense few minutes Thursday afternoon, MSNBC’s Chuck Todd tried to pin down a Donald Trump spokesman on a simple point: From bogus online polls to “rigged” Google results to Sputnik News articles, why does the Trump campaign insist on “creating a reality that doesn’t exist?”

“Why do you think multiple polls, scientific polls have said Hillary Clinton won that debate by a 2-1 margin?” Todd asked communications advisor Jason Miller, noting that Trump had spoken about several instant reaction online polls as if they were methodologically sound.

Miller claimed “The polls that happened the night of the debate, the snap polls, the ones that happen online, those all showed Mr. Trump winning in a huge way.” Todd reminded him that such polls’ respondents are self-selecting, and that results can be easily distorted with computer programs.

“There’s TIME, there’s Variety,” Miller continued, undeterred, mentioning two online instant reaction polls.

“Those are all robot polling!” Todd said. “You’ve been doing this a while, you know those are bogus! They’re beyond unscientific.”

Miller moved on to Trump’s large crowds at rallies. “The energy and excitement are on our side,” he said, before explaining how the debate was rigged against Trump.

“Do you have any concern — he also has been talking about Google being rigged as well?” Todd asked. “There is a constant theme here that when things don’t go well, ‘something is rigged, something is rigged.’ That is not the best way to instill confidence in our democracy. Why does he do that?”

Miller avoided the question, instead pivoting to Clinton’s debate performance and polling among millennials.

The reality-check continued, brutal minute after brutal minute. Todd needled Miller on Trump’s debate prep (“we talked to supporters at a rally in Melbourne who all thought he did poorly!”) and his unfounded Google conspiracies (“An article from Sputnik?!”) before the sweet release of a commercial break.

Watch below:

 

Watch this: How highways wrecked American cities

The Interstate Highway System was one of America’s most revolutionary infrastructure projects. It also destroyed urban neighborhoods across the nation. [YouTube / Christophe Haubursin and Joseph Stromberg]

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Samantha Bee blasts Donald Trump’s sexism and debate prep on ‘Full Frontal’

Samantha Bee blasts Donald Trump's sexism and debate prep on 'Full Frontal'

Image Credit: YouTube

ARTS.MIC

A Wednesday night airtime — instead of the typical Monday — gave Samantha Bee plenty of time to break down the first presidential debate on Full Frontal, and the late-night host didn’t disappoint. Stressing the importance of this year’s election, Bee noted that even the NFL’s Monday Night Football matchup was skipped by the majority of Americans in favor of the debate.

“For once, concussion-ball was not as compelling as watching American democracy play Russian roulette,” she says.

But while Donald Trump was steady in the opening portion of the debate — or as Bee put it, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway’s “control collar worked for about 20 minutes” — he fell into Hillary Clinton’s trap by succumbing to his sexist tendencies.

“Trump warned us that Hermione Clinton would be cheating by doing something called ‘preparing,'” Bee said. “But Trump never considered the possibility that she might be a Count of Monte Cristo overplanner. She spent months building an elaborate trap for Trump, and he lumbered right into it.”

Samantha Bee blasts Donald Trump's sexism and debate prep on 'Full Frontal'
Samantha Bee
Source: Giphy

“Those wily Clinton bastards knew there are three things Trump can’t resist: Calling women names, doubling down, and making dumb mistakes on Fox & Friends,” Bee added.

That was when Trump doubled down on his remarks about former Miss Universe winner Alicia Machado on the Fox program — who, Clinton noted, he called “Miss Piggy.” On Fox, he said that she “gained a massive amount of weight and it was a real problem,” to which Bee laid out a scathing rebuttal with the help of her staff.

“No, you had a stunningly beautiful Miss Universe winner, but you treated her like garbage — now you have a real problem,” Bee says. “Not only with her, but with any woman who’s ever been called fat, which is all of us. We’ve been dealing with you our whole life.”

Samantha Bee blasts Donald Trump's sexism and debate prep on 'Full Frontal'
‘Full Frontal’
Source: Giphy

Watch Bee’s segments on the presidential debate below.

Source: You Tube

How Russia Wants to Undermine the U.S. Election

TIME

What’s behind Russia’s effort to influence the U.S. election

The leaders of the U.S. government, including the President and his top national-security advisers, face an unprecedented dilemma. Since the spring, U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement agencies have seen mounting evidence of an active Russian influence operation targeting the 2016 presidential election. It is very unlikely the Russians could sway the actual vote count, because our election infrastructure is decentralized and voting machines are not accessible from the Internet. But they can sow disruption and instability up to, and on, Election Day, more than a dozen senior U.S. officials tell TIME, undermining faith in the result and in democracy itself.

The question, debated at multiple meetings at the White House, is how aggressively to respond to the Russian operation. Publicly naming and shaming the Russians and describing what the intelligence community knows about their activities would help Americans understand and respond prudently to any disruptions that might take place between now and the close of the polls. Senior Justice Department officials have argued in favor of calling out the Russians, and that position has been echoed forcefully outside of government by lawmakers and former top national-security officials from both political parties.

//players.brightcove.net/293884104/SJa0Thl7_default/index.html?videoId=4582123566001

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. The President and several of his closest national-security advisers are concerned about the danger of a confrontation in the new and ungoverned world of cyberspace, and they argue that while the U.S. has powerful offensive and defensive capabilities there, an escalating confrontation carries significant risks. National Security Council officials warn that our critical infrastructure–including the electricity grid, transportation sector and energy networks–is vulnerable to first strikes; others say attacks on private companies, stock exchanges and the media could affect the economy. Senior intelligence officials even worry about Russia exposing U.S. espionage operations in retaliation. And while U.S. officials have “high confidence” that Russia is behind what they describe as a major influence operation, senior U.S. officials tell TIME, their evidence would not yet stand up in court.

And so with five weeks to go, the White House is, for now, letting events unfold. On one side, U.S. law-enforcement agencies are scrambling to uncover the extent of the Russian operation, counter it and harden the country’s election infrastructure. On the other, a murky network of Russian hackers and their associates is stepping up the pace of leaks of stolen documents designed to affect public opinion and give the impression that the election is vulnerable, including emails from the computers of the

Democratic National Committee (DNC). Meanwhile, the FBI alerted all 50 states to the danger in mid-August, and the states have delivered evidence of a “significant” number of new intrusions into their election systems that the bureau and their colleagues at the Department of Homeland Security “are still trying to understand,” a department official tells TIME.

All of which makes Donald Trump’s repeated insertion of himself into the U.S.-Russia story all the more startling. Trump has praised Putin during the campaign, and at the first presidential debate, on Sept. 26, he said it wasn’t clear the Russians were behind the DNC hack. But the U.S. intelligence community has “high confidence” that Russian intelligence services were in fact responsible, multiple intelligence and national security officials tell TIME. Trump was informed of that assessment during a recent classified intelligence briefing, a U.S. official familiar with the matter tells TIME. “I do not comment on information I receive in intelligence briefings, however, nobody knows with definitive certainty that this was in fact Russia,” Trump told TIME in a statement. “It may be, but it may also be China, another country or individual.”

Russia’s interference in the U.S. election is an extraordinary escalation of an already worrying trend. Over the past 2½ years, Russia has executed a westward march of election meddling through cyberspace, starting in the states of the former Soviet Union and moving toward the North Atlantic. “On a regular basis they try to influence elections in Europe,” President Obama told NBC News on July 26. With Russia establishing beachheads in the U.S. at least since April, officials worry that in the final weeks of the campaign the Russian cybercapability could be used to fiddle with voter rolls, election-reporting systems and the media, resulting in confusion that could cast a shadow over both the next President and the democratic process.

MORE>>>

USA TODAY FIRST EVER ENDORSEMENT: TRUMP ‘UNFIT’

Spencer Platt, GETTY IMAGES

THE HUFFINGTON POST

The popular newspaper urges readers to vote against Donald Trump.

USA Today, for the first time in its 36-year history, is taking a side in a presidential race, urging readers to vote against Donald Trump.

The newspaper, one of the most widely circulated in the country, published a scathing critique of the Republican nominee on Thursday, arguing that no presidential contest until now has warranted such a statement.

“This year, the choice isn’t between two capable major party nominees who happen to have significant ideological differences,” reads the editorial. “This year, one of the candidates — Republican nominee Donald Trump — is, by unanimous consensus of the Editorial Board, unfit for the presidency.”

The editorial continues: “From the day he declared his candidacy 15 months ago through this week’s first presidential debate, Trump has demonstrated repeatedly that he lacks the temperament, knowledge, steadiness and honesty that America needs from its presidents.”

The editorial lists reasons to vote against Trump, including his prejudiced rhetoric, his erratic temperament, his “checkered” business history and his dishonesty.

The paper stopped short of endorsing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

“Stay true to your convictions,” the board urged readers. “That might mean a vote for Clinton, the most plausible alternative to keep Trump out of the White House. Or it might mean a third-party candidate. Or a write-in. Or a focus on down-ballot candidates who will serve the nation honestly, try to heal its divisions, and work to solve its problems.

“Whatever you do, however, resist the siren song of a dangerous demagogue,” concludes the editorial. “By all means vote, just not for Donald Trump.”

Read the full editorial here.

USA Today’s editorial adds to a string of high-profile, anti-Trump statements by newspapers, including right-leaning publications.

On Tuesday, the Arizona Republic endorsed Clinton, the first time the paper hasn’t endorsed a Republican candidate in 126 years. (The paper has since lost subscribers.) The Cincinnati Enquirer made a similar break with a 100-year tradition by endorsing Clinton. (USA Today, the Arizona Republic and the Cincinnati Enquirer are all owned by Gannett.) The Dallas Morning News endorsed Clinton in June, and the New Hampshire-based Union Leader endorsed Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, breaking a 100-year streak of backing Republicans.

While the influence of newspaper endorsements has declined along with readership, surprising statements still have an impact. A 2008 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that newspaper endorsements matter most when they buck their own traditions.

Mollie Reilly

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar,rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.

New Jersey Train Crash Injures Over 100

New Jersey Train Crash Injures Over 100

Onlookers view a New Jersey Transit train that derailed and crashed through the station in Hoboken, New Jersey, U.S. in this picture courtesy of Chris Lantero taken September 29, 2016 | Courtesy of Chris Lantero via REUTERS

THE NATIONAL MEMO

HOBOKEN, N.J., Sept 29 (Reuters) – Three people were killed and more than 100 injured, some critically, when a commuter train derailed and plowed through Hoboken station in New Jersey during the morning rush hour on Thursday, U.S. media and a transit official said.

Citing medical officials, U.S. media reports said three people were killed. Well over 100 people were hurt, many of them critically, Jennifer Nelson, a spokeswoman for train operator New Jersey Transit, told reporters at the scene. She did not confirm any fatalities.

Dramatic pictures posted by commuters showed a train carriage that appeared to have smashed right through the station concourse, collapsing a section of the roof, scattering debris and wreckage and causing devastation.

ABC News said on its website that New Jersey Transit was reporting many passengers were trapped. Fox News said the engineer, or train driver, had to be extricated from the front car.

Hoboken lies on the west bank of the Hudson River across from New York City. Its station, one of the busiest in the metropolitan area, is used by many commuters traveling into Manhattan from New Jersey and further afield.

There was no word yet on what caused the crash. Federal investigators were en route to the scene.

Linda Albelli, 62, said she was sitting in her seat in one of the rear cars when the train approached the station. She said she knew something was wrong a moment before the impact.

“I thought to myself, ‘Oh my god, he’s not slowing up, and this is where we’re usually stop,’” Albelli said. “‘We’re going too fast,’ and with that there was this tremendous crash.”

Passengers helped each other off the train and onto the platform. They ultimately had to cross the tracks to get to safety, she said: “When we got on the platform there was nowhere to go. The ceiling had come down.”

The injured sat on benches in the station while they waited for first responders, said Albelli, who lives in Closter, New Jersey. She did not know how many had been hurt.

“There was just so much, a lot of people in need of attention,” she said. “There were a lot of people who were really hurt.”

The train had about five or six carriages and was not full because many passengers exit at Secaucus, Albelli said.

‘HARD TO BELIEVE’

New Jersey Transit employee Michael Larson talked to reporters outside the station looking shocked and with blood from one of the injured passengers on the knee of his pants.

“It’s hard to believe. I have no idea what caused it,” Larson said. “The whole roof was caved in.”

A major transit hub, the historic green-roofed Hoboken Station is served by NJ Transit commuter trains connecting much of New Jersey with the country’s largest city, as well as PATH, a more local subway-like service going into Manhattan, a local light rail service and ferry service to New York.

The train was on the Pascack Valley line, which goes through Northern Bergen County, and had originated at Spring Valley, according to media reports. NBC News said it was on track five when it struck the Hoboken terminal building.

Jaimie Weatherhead-Saul, a passenger on train, said the people sitting in front of him were badly injured.

“Once we got off we noticed people were stuck and had to come out windows. And the conductor came off and he was completely bloodied,” Weatherhead-Saul said.

The Federal Railroad Administration said its investigators were en route to the scene. The National Transportation Safety Board said it would send its major incidents team to investigate.

In May 2011, a Port Authority of New York and New Jersey train crashed at the same Hoboken station, injuring more than 30 people when it plowed into a bumping post at the end of the track. An NTSB investigation determined excessive speed was the main cause of the accident.

The worst passenger train crash in recent years in the United States was the crash of an Amtrak train in Philadelphia in May, 2015 that killed eight passengers and injured 186.

(Additional reporting by Laila Kearney and David Ingram in New York, and Susan Heavey and Tim Ahmann in Washington; Writing by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Frances Kerry)

10 things you need to know today: September 29, 2016

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

THE WEEK

1. Congress overrides Obama veto of 9/11 victim bill
The House and the Senate voted on Wednesday to override President Obama’s veto of a bill to let the families of 9/11 victims sue the government of Saudi Arabia for any role it may have played in the terrorist plot. The lopsided votes — in the Senate, only Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) sided with Obama — marked the first veto override of Obama’s presidency. Obama called the override a “mistake.”Before the votes, he wrote to Congress warning that the law “could be devastating to the Department of Defense and its service members” and create major problems for the U.S. in foreign affairs and intelligence gathering.

Source: The New York Times

2. Senate passes spending bill to avert government shutdown
The Senate on Wednesday passed a stopgap spending bill to avert a partial government shutdown and keep government agencies fully funded through Dec. 9. The 72-26 vote came after Democrats received assurances that Flint, Michigan, would get aid to address its drinking water crisis after the November election. A day earlier, Democrats had blocked the bill because Flint aid was left out. The legislation also provides $1.1 billion in long-awaited money to fight the mosquito-borne Zika virus. The House also approved the measure, sending it to President Obama for his signature before funding runs out Friday.

Source: The Associated Press, The Hill

3. Clinton gets slight bounce in post-debate poll
Hillary Clinton got a small bounce from the first presidential debate, according to a Politico/Morning Consult poll released Wednesday. Clinton, the Democratic nominee, led her Republican rival, Donald Trump, 41 percent to 38 percent in the poll, up from a 1 percentage point lead just before Monday night’s debate. Both leads were within the poll’s margin of error. Four scientific polls conducted since the debate found that Americans overwhelmingly believed that Clinton won the debate. In the Politico/Morning Consult poll, 49 percent of respondents said Clinton won, while 26 percent gave the night to Trump.

Source: Morning Consult

4. Kerry threatens to end cooperation with Russia over Syria airstrikes
Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday that the U.S. might suspend cooperation with Russia on resolving Syria’s civil war unless Russia and Syria halt intensifying airstrikes. Kerry, in a phone call with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, “expressed grave concern” over the “drastic escalation” of bombings in the divided city of Aleppo since a ceasefire collapsed last week. Kerry “stressed that the burden remains on Russia to stop this assault and allow humanitarian access to Aleppo and other areas in need,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said. U.S. officials also reportedly have renewed a debate over whether to give moderate rebels more weapons.

Source: Los Angeles Times

5. India hits ‘terrorists’ with cross-border Kashmir strikes
India announced on Thursday that it conducted “surgical strikes” in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir against “terrorists” it said were planning attacks on Indian territory. Pakistan’s ‎military called India’s announcement a “fabrication,” saying that India had only initiated some ordinary but unprovoked “cross-border fire.” Pakistan said two of its soldiers had been killed. “If India tries to do this again, we will respond forcefully,” Pakistan’s defense minister, Khawaja Asif, said. “India is doing this only to please their media and public.”

Source: The New York Times

6. OPEC agrees to oil production cuts
Members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreedon Wednesday to modest output cuts, sending oil prices rising by more than 5 percent to higher than $48 per barrel. Oil prices edged down early Thursday as some investors took profits. Global stocks gained, led by energy company shares, although U.S. stock futures struggled as euphoria over the deal faded. The agreement came as Saudi Arabia and other OPEC leaders faced mounting pressure to do something to ease a glut that has dragged down prices dramatically. Iran, which had opposed a freeze until it regains the output it had before now-lifted sanctions were imposed, will be allowed to produce “at maximum levels that make sense,” as will Libya and Nigeria.

Source: Reuters, MarketWatch

7. U.S. adding 600 troops to help Iraq with Mosul offensive
The U.S. plans to send roughly 600 more troops to Iraq to help local forces retake Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, from the Islamic State, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Wednesday. The reinforcements will join the 4,565 military personnel already in Iraq. They will assist with training and advising the Iraqi military. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said he had requested the additional troops to “provide support for security forces” as they try to drive ISIS from the city, its “last major urban stronghold.”

Source: The Associated Press, ABC News

8. Two pupils, one teacher wounded in South Carolina school shooting
Two students and a teacher were injured in a shooting at Townville Elementary School near Greenville, South Carolina, on Wednesday. A teenage suspect was arrested. Authorities said the two students had been shot on a playground and were being treated at a Greenville hospital for injuries that were not life threatening. Teachers, all of whom had taken active-shooter training, locked the school’s doors, preventing the attacker from getting inside. A volunteer firefighter subdued the 14-year-old suspect. Later, the suspect’s father, Jeffrey Osborne, was found dead at his home about two miles away. Osborne, 47, was fatally shot before the school attack.

Source: NBC News, The Greenville News

9. California protesters march against fatal officer-involved shooting
Hundreds of protesters gathered in the streets of El Cajon, California,on Wednesday for a second night of protests against the fatal police shooting of an unarmed, mentally ill black man, Alfred Olango. The 38-year-old Olango had pulled something from his pocket and pointed it at an officer. Police said Wednesday night that the object was a vape smoking device. The protesters were peaceful but loud as they marched, with many shouting, “No justice, no peace.”

Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune

10. Amnesty International accuses Sudan of Darfur chemical weapon attacks
The Sudanese government has killed more than 200 people with chemical weapons in Darfur since January, according to a new report from Amnesty International. Dozens of the victims were children. Sudan’s United Nations ambassador, Omer Dahab Fadl Mohamed, said the allegations were “baseless and fabricated.” “The ultimate objective of such wild accusation, is to steer confusion in the ongoing processes aimed at deepening peace and stability and enhancing economic development and social cohesion in Sudan,” he said. Sudanese forces and rebels have been fighting in the region for 13 years.

Source: BBC News

CIA director criticizes lawmakers for backing ‘misguided’ 9/11 bill

Getty Images

THE HILL

CIA Director John Brennan on Wednesday criticized Congress for voting to override President Obama’s veto of a bill that would let families of 9/11 victims sue Saudi Arabia, calling them “misguided.”

“I find it hard to believe that they are supporting this override when I think many of them understand what the impact is going to be on U.S. national security issues,” Brennan said during the Aspen Ideas Festival in Washington.

His remarks came just hours after the Senate voted to override Obama’s veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) and shortly before the House followed suit.

Brennan called the legislation “badly misguided,” noting that the 9/11 Commission report found no evidence linking the Saudi government to the terrorist attacks.

Other countries, Brennan argued, would be compelled to enact similar laws that would harm U.S. interests abroad.

“Foreign governments are going to start to pass similar types of legislation that is going to haul the United States into court overseas even for the most frivolous charges and allegations,” he said.

Brennan also said that the Saudis are now “among our best counterterrorism partners around the world” and that the legislation could cause them to pull their investments out of the U.S. for fear that they would be vulnerable to lawsuits under the law.

The CIA director said he had made a visit to Capitol Hill earlier in the day. He released a statementjust before the vote Wednesday, acknowledging the emotional baggage that the issue carried.

“The events of that September day will stay with us forever,” Brennan said in the statement. “I can only imagine the lasting anguish that the families of the victims must feel, and I sympathize with their devoted efforts to find justice,” he said in a statement.

“However, I believe that the ‘Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act’ (JASTA) will have grave implications for the national security of the United States. The most damaging consequence would be for those US Government officials who dutifully work overseas on behalf of our country.”

By Harper Neidig

 

One Day After Endorsing Hillary Clinton, Arizona Newspaper Receives Death Threats

One Day After Endorsing Hillary Clinton, Arizona Newspaper Receives Death Threats

POLITICUS USA

Trump supporters are at it again.

Just a day after The Arizona Republic paper endorsed its first ever Democrat for President, the paper has received death threats and countless cancellations.

“The Arizona Republic says it has received death threats and countless subscription cancelations over its endorsement of Hillary Clinton — the first time in the paper’s 126 year history it has ever supported a Democrat for president,” local 12News reported.

Phil Boas, director of the Arizona Republic’s editorial page said it had been crazy around there but it should have been expected as the paper had been giving Trump scathing coverage. He added, “We’re getting a lot of reaction both locally and national. I don’t believe true readers of the editorial page are surprised by this at all, because over the past year we have been writing scathing, scalding articles about Donald Trump.”

Boas explained, “The things he has done, making fun of disabled people and rolling back press freedoms. You know a guy who would do that and crush our freedoms in one area will do it in others as well.”

The Arizona paper endorsed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for president on Tuesday, the first time in its 125-year history it has ever endorsed a Democrat. They wrote decisively, “The 2016 Republican candidate is not conservative and he is not qualified.”

Instead of rethinking the choice to support Donald Trump, his supporters took yet another cue from their leader and resorted to threats of violence.

This is just one more reason why Donald Trump is a menace to this country. If Donald Trump is elected, not only will we have a crush of our freedoms as Mr. Boas explained, but we will live with this kind of violence being condoned from the highest office in the land.

Donald Trump claims he’s running for “law and order”, but he does all that he can to incite violence and create chaos and disorder.

By

Obama warns of ‘slippery slope’ of Trump’s rhetoric

160928_barack_obama_AP_1160.jpg

President Barack Obama has explained that he does not want to legitimize terrorists by saying they speak for the billions of peaceful Muslims around the world. | AP Photo

POLITICO

President Barack Obama said there are “dangers” to Donald Trump’s rhetoric on Muslims on Wednesday, saying it represented a “slippery slope.”

Actually, Obama denied that he was referring specifically to Trump during a CNN town hall for service members at Fort Lee, Virginia. But he spoke about the risks involved when people “aspiring to become president get loose with this language.”

Those dangers, Obama said, “you can see in some of the language that we use — in talking about Muslim-Americans here and the notion that somehow we’d start having religious tests in who can come in the country and who’s investigated and whether the Bill of Rights applies to them in the same way.”

Trump has at times proposed banning all Muslims from entering the United States, a notion that Obama has frequently attacked as anathema to American values. More recently, Trump has said he would impose “extreme vetting” and an ideological test for people who want to enter the United States, as well as ban entry for people from certain states affected by terrorism.

When asked by CNN host Jake Tapper whether he was referring to Trump, Obama demurred.
“It’s not unique to the Republican nominee,” Obama said. “And, again, I’m trying to be careful. We’re on a military base. I don’t want to insert partisan politics into this.”

Obama continued, “I think that there have been a number of public figures where you start hearing commentary that is dangerous because what it starts doing is it starts dividing us up as Americans.”

The president then noted that at Arlington National Cemetery, graves of fallen soldiers have crosses, Stars of David and crescents. That reference was reminiscent of the Khan family, who spoke about their Muslim son while excoriating Trump at the Democratic National Convention in July. Trump responded by going after the Gold Star family.

Obama’s comments were something of a pivot away from the central question of another Gold Star mother at the town hall meeting. Her 19-year-old son died in Baghdad in 2007, and she asked Obama why he refused to use the term “Islamic terrorist.” It’s a criticism Trump and other Republicans have lobbed at the president as well.

Obama told her the issue is “sort of manufactured” because he has acknowleged that groups like Al Qaeda and ISIL have “perverted and distorted” Islam.

Obama has explained that he does not want to legitimize terrorists by saying they speak for the billions of peaceful Muslims around the world. However, he adopted a novel, more personal example to illustrate his point.

“If you had an organization that was going around killing and blowing people up and said we’re on the vanguard of Christianity,” Obama said, “as a Christian, I’m not going to let them claim my religion and say you’re killing for Christ. I would say that’s ridiculous. That’s not what my religion stands for. Call these folks what they are, which is killers and terrorists.”