Here it is, finally. After years of seeding and stoking baseless right-wing conspiracy theories about Barack Obama’s birth, Donald Trump has finally acknowledged the president was born in the United States.
“President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period,” Trump said on Friday, adding, he just “finished” the “birther” movement, a name given to a group of people pushing the falsehood that Obama was not born on US soil — for the record, he was, in Hawaii — and was thus not qualified to be president.
After avoiding the issue for most of his campaign, Trump brought it back into focus avoiding a direct answer to a question in an interview to The Washington Post published Thursday. “I’ll answer that question at the right time. I just don’t want to answer it yet.” His campaign, however, said later that he did believe the president was born in the US.
But it was still not from Trump directly. Not until Friday morning, when he finally abandoned his bizarre project at his newly inaugurated hotel in Washington DC, just a few miles from the White House.
He continued to push a long debunked claim, however, that Clinton was the first to raise the issue, during the 2008 Democratic nominating contests. “Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it. I finished it, you know what I mean.”
A statement issued earlier by chia campaign spokesman Jason Miller had sought to portray Trump as “a closer” who helped “bring this ugly incident (about the president’s birth) to its conclusion by successfully compelling President Obama to release his birth certificate” in 2011.
But Trump didn’t give up even then, and continued to flog the lie, until Friday morning, shortly after Clinton attacked him for leading a movement for five years to “delegitimize our first black president”.
The president himself joined in also. “I was pretty confident about where I was born,” he told reporters auth the White House. “I think most people were as well. My hope would be that the presidential election reflects more serious issues than that.”