Trump Talked About ISIS Cell Phone Cases At Debate

During the fifth GOP debate, Donald Trump made a bizarre comment about people who have ISIS flags on their cell phones. What was he talking about? The comment flew by pretty quickly — as does every individual comment that Trump makes, since he usually moves on to a new point before he's finished his last one — but it was a head-scratcher nonetheless. What Trump was presumably talking about was a report, recently published in a Norwegian online publication, that some Syrian asylum seekers had cell phones with images of ISIS flags on them.

Trump didn't make that clear at all, though, and so much of the audience was left wondering what in the world he was talking about. My theory was this: ISIS is very good at using technology to recruit new members. Cell phones are a type of technology. Therefore, people who decide to join ISIS probably decide to get ISIS flags printed on their cell phone cases, to pledge their support. Right? That makes about as much sense as anything anyone could glean from Trump's comments alone.

There's also an item on eBay that's billed as an "Isis Charging Extended battery case" for the iPhone; presumably, this is merely a coincidence, although with Trump, you never really know.

In any event, the Donald's ISIS/cell phone quickly got lost in the hubbub of the debate, and he should be glad it did: As some people have pointed out, the fact that some refugees have ISIS flags on their phones doesn't mean those refugees actually sympathize with ISIS. They could have been posing as ISIS supporters while passing through ISIS-held territory, for example, or perhaps simply documenting the extraordinary events unfolding around them in their home country.

Trump didn't give voice to that nuance, and none of the other candidates paid any mind to his original claim. Everyone quickly moved on, and that's probably for the best, given that the story Trump was referencing has little to no bearing on the merits of the debate about Syrian refugees.