Trump Concedes Birther Question, Then Creates Whole New Controversy

Donald Trump dropped his five-year long birther position, asserting that President Barack Obama was born in the United States, speaking at his new Washington D.C. hotel on Friday.

The GOP nominee deflected any blame for inciting or inflaming the issue, putting the onus for starting the birther movement squarely on Hillary Clinton and her 2008 campaign.

Cleverly pushing aside his central role in promoting the preposterous idea that Barack Obama was not born in the United States, Trump declared: “Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it. I finished it. You know what I mean. President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period.”

Trump has gone from conceding one five-year falsehood to creating another in the same breath.

While there is some evidence of a 2008 Clinton staffer addressing the question of President Obama’s birth, that person was immediately let go. Sid Blumenthal is also mixed up in the issue, with evidence that he spoke to a reporter about Obama’s birth during the 2008 campaign.



What is clear is that Donald Trump gave birtherism legs and members of the Republican party, particularly those who now support him, latched on.

According to a recent PPP poll, taken before Trump's speech on Friday, 59% of his supporters believe that President Obama is not an American.

There is little indication that Trump’s statement will change any minds. Many are either pushing the issue aside, or sticking with their birther roots. At a rally in Miami on Friday evening, Politico spoke with a couple of Trump supporters:

“I know it in my heart [that Obama is not American],”  said Pedro Almeyda. “I never believed Obama was a real American,” Jim Neubauer added to Politico.

The word from the Trump campaign: “Let’s move on to creating jobs, defeating radical Islam, rebuilding our inner cities.” Some reporters will let the Trump campaign’s newly formed approach to the birther issue slide, now that we have “closure.”

But others won’t.

John Dickerson of CBS’ ‘Face the Nation,’ took Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, on a long and indepth question thread on the issue: “The reason I want to stick on this a little bit is he promoted this for five years. So, this isn’t just some passing notion.”

Following additional accusations of the Clinton campaign, Dickerson pleaded for accuracy and consistency, nonexistent virtues across the 2016 presidential spectrum:

“You said he got the birth certificate released and that put an end to it. But it didn’t put an end it for him. For years … he continued to question it … and whether the birth certificate was a fraud. So, when the campaign puts out a statement and says he ended [it] in 2011, and you have asserted that today, that’s just not the truth, is it?”

In essence, the question about President Obama’s birth is ludicrous. The fact that it was made into a central issue for so many years is proof that inflamed rhetoric drowns out truth.

“When was this ever a debate? I mean it was a debate on the fringes in certain sectors. Whether voters respond to it or not, it’s appalling. It’s appalling on its face to actually watch this argument play out. It’s edifying to none,” Mark Leibovich of The New York Times cogently ended the conversation on ‘Face the Nation.”

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