Carlo Allegri / Reuters Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks on stage during a campaign rally in Fredericksburg, Virginia, August 20, 2016.

Why ISIS Is Rooting for Trump

Islamophobic Politicians Make the Best Enemies

Donald Trump has been campaigning on a promise to eradicate the Islamic State (also known as ISIS). The Republican presidential nominee regularly makes belligerent statements such as “I would bomb the shit out of . . . those suckers” and “We have to knock the hell out of them.” He has said that he would send up to 30,000 more U.S. troops to fight ISIS and refuses to rule out the possibility of using nuclear weapons against the group. One might expect ISIS to view his candidacy with apprehension. However, interviews with ISIS supporters and recent defectors suggest just the opposite: jihadists are rooting for a Trump presidency because they believe that he will lead the United States on a path to self-destruction. Last week, an ISIS spokesman wrote on the ISIS-affiliated Telegram channel, Nashir, “I ask Allah to deliver America to Trump.” Meanwhile, an ISIS supporter posted on one of the numerous jihadist “channels” hosted by the Telegram messaging application, “The ‘facilitation’ of Trump’s arrival in the White House must be a priority for jihadists at any cost!!!”

Analysis of ISIS chatter on social media and conversations with 12 current and former supporters of the group do indicate that ISIS strongly prefers Trump over the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton. When asked to explain their preference for Trump, interviewees offered several reasons. First, Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric plays into ISIS’ narrative of a bipolar world in which the West is at war with Islam. Second, ISIS hopes that Trump will radicalize Muslims in the United States and Europe and inspire them to commit lone-wolf attacks in their home countries. Third, ISIS supporters believe that Trump would be an unstable and irrational leader whose impulsive decision-making would weaken the United States. And fourth, ISIS subscribes to the prophecy of a “Final Battle,” to take place in the northern Syrian town of Dabiq, in which the caliphate will decisively triumph over its enemies. Some ISIS supporters believe that Trump would lead the United States and its

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