Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s biography on the website of his privately held corporation, the Trump Organisation, claims he forced President Barack Obama to release his birth certificate.
The biography claims: “In 2011, after failed attempts by both Senator McCain and Hillary Clinton, Trump single-handedly forced President Obama to release his birth certificate, which was lauded by large segments of the political community.”
Asked about the claim, which has been in his biography since at least last August, McCain’s spokesperson Rachael Dean replied: “As the record clearly shows, McCain has never questioned Obama’s birthplace.”
McCain famously defended Obama against conspiracy theories when he carried the Republican presidential banner in 2008, the Daily Beast reported.
At multiple campaign events, the Arizona Senator forcefully pushed back against his own supporters who questioned Obama’s religion, race, and loyalty to the US.
Democrat Clinton, too, never attempted to force Obama to release his birth certificate, contrary to Trump’s claim.
Trump, on the other hand, first emerged as a politically significant force when he began beating the birther drum in 2011, and he’s continued to do so ever since, even after declaring last month that “Barack Obama was born in the US, period.”
Last summer, Trump, while vying for the Republican nomination, said of McCain: “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured? I like people who were not captured.”
Trump received multiple medical deferments from the military service for bone spurs while attending business school and once called the risk of STDs while sleeping around his own “personal Vietnam”.
McCain spent almost six years in the infamous Hanoi Hilton, where he refused early release despite being brutally tortured to avoid the appearance of favouritism because his father was an admiral.
Despite that insult, McCain, facing a right-wing primary challenge for re-election, eventually endorsed his party’s nominee for president but pointedly criticised Trump after he hurled insults at the Gold Star Kahn family.
McCain said: “I cannot emphasize enough how deeply I disagree with Trump’s statement... While our party has bestowed upon him the nomination, it is not accompanied by unfettered license to defame those who are the best among us.”
Trump campaign spokesperson Jason Miller did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday evening about the sentence in the candidate’s corporate biography that effectively labels McCain and Clinton the original birthers.
Clinton campaign press secretary Nick Merrill said: “The record is clear on this. I give Trump’s bio four Pinocchio’s.”
Notably, the sentence in Trump’s biography uses almost identical language to that of the Rev. Jerry Falwell Jr. at Liberty University’s 2012 convocation when he was introducing Trump, who’d just finished flirting with a presidential run that year.
Falwell said to a roar from the assembled believers: “Trump has also become one of the most influential political leaders in the US. In 2011, after failed attempts by John McCain and Clinton, Trump single-handedly forced Obama to release his birth certificate.”