Donald Trump is "exhausted," his staffers say, and that's why he's committing some gaffes

A senior White House official said Trump's Islamist/Islamic slip-up was due to him being "exhausted"

Published May 22, 2017 2:01PM (EDT)

 (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The White House wants you to believe that President Donald Trump didn't mean to offend Muslim audiences when he referred to Islamist extremism as "Islamic extremism."

He was just an "exhausted guy."

[salon_video id="14769992"]

That's what an unnamed senior White House official told CNN on Monday, claiming that Trump intended to say "Islamist extremism" but said "Islamic extremism" because he was "just an exhausted guy" by the time he delivered the speech. The prepared remarks do indeed show Trump saying "Islamist extremism," which is the correct term when referring to the political movements that attempt to create governments based around Islamic theological precepts.

The White House claims that Trump was busy editing his speech during a 14-hour flight from Washington to the Middle East. When he wasn't doing that, they claim that he was reading newspapers, leaving him quite tired by the time he arrived.

The irony here, of course, is that Trump frequently belittled his political opponents by claiming they lacked the energy that he presumably possessed to serve as President of the United States. He ridiculed one of his chief Republican rivals, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, as being "low energy" and famously insulted Hillary Clinton in similar terms during the first presidential debate.

"She doesn't have the look. She doesn't have the stamina, I said she doesn't have the stamina, and I don't believe she does have the stamina," Trump told audiences at the time.

This didn't stop Secretary of State Rex Tillerson from defending Trump's stamina, telling reporters on Monday that "he's doing better than I am. And he's got a few years on me."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. He specializes in covering science and history, and is particularly passionate about climate change, animal science, disability rights, plastic pollution and a wide range of political issues. He has interviewed many prominent figures (reflecting his diverse interests) including President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001), animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin, inventor Ernő Rubik, epidemiologist Monica Gandhi, theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin, mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, philosopher of science Vinciane Despret, actor George Takei ("Star Trek"), Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman (2000), Ambassador Michael McFaul (2012-2014), economist Richard Wolff, director Kevin Greutert ("Saw VI"), model Liskula Cohen, actor Rodger Bumpass ("SpongeBob Squarepants"), Senator John Hickenlooper (2021-present), American Public Health Association Executive Director Georges Benjamin (2002-present), comedian Bill Burr ("F Is for Family"), comedian David Cross ("Scary Movie 2") and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.

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Donald Trump Islamic Extremism Islamist Extremism Partner Video Saudi Arabia