Trump recants, says ‘Obama was born in the United States’

Trump recants, says ‘Obama was born in the United States’
September 17 06:11 2016

Donald Trump finally admitted Friday that “President Barack
Obama was born in the United States,” reversing himself on
the issue that propelled him into national politics five years
ago.
Trump sought to end his longstanding attempt to discredit
the nation’s first African-American president with just a few
sentences tacked on at the end of an event to unveil his new
hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington.

But the issue isn’t likely to die down any time soon –
especially as Trump continues to falsely blame Democratic
nominee Hillary Clinton for starting the “birtherism”
controversy. Clinton spoke earlier Friday and said Trump’s
acknowledgment of Obama’s birthplace doesn’t go far
enough and that he must also apologize.
”For five years, he has led the birther movement to
delegitimize our first black president,” Clinton said at an
event in Washington. “His campaign was founded on this
outrageous lie.”
Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961.
The President dismissed Trump’s criticism Friday, joking
with reporters at the White House and saying, “I was pretty
confident about where I was born.”

The birtherism controversy exploded Thursday evening
when Trump said in an interview with The Washington Post
that he still wasn’t prepared to acknowledge Obama’s
birthplace. Within a few hours, the campaign released a
statement — attributed to his spokesman — that said Trump
now believes Obama was born in the United States.
Trump finally said the words out loud Friday morning.
”President Barack Obama was born in the United States.
Period,” Trump said. “Now we all want to get back to
making America strong and great again.”
The developments over the past day were steeped in
political motivations.

With 53 days before the presidential
election, Trump is moving into a margin of error race with
Clinton and trying to broaden his appeal while maintaining
his grip on the GOP base. Trump has made strenuous
attempts to improve his dismal standing among minority
voters and moderate Republicans in recent weeks, many of
which see birtherism as racially motivated and an insult to
Obama.
He is also aiming to take the issue of Obama’s birthplace
and legitimacy off the table by the time of the crucial debate
with Clinton on September 26.
Trump has declined other opportunities in the past two
weeks to refute his original birtherism.
When local Philadelphia TV station WPVI asked Trump on
September 2 about his past statements about Obama not
being born in the US, Trump replied: “I don’t talk about it
anymore. I told you, I don’t talk about it anymore.”

He repeated the same line when asked about it during a
gaggle with reporters aboard his plane last week.
And in an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly last week,
Trump again said, “I don’t bother talking about it.”
Trump’s extraordinary attempt to prove Obama was not a
natural born US citizen and was therefore not qualified to be
President started on the conservative fringe but incredibly
gathered pace and became a major issue. The White House
initially tried to ignore the birtherism movement as the work
of conspiracy theorists but Trump’s huge media profile
propelled the issue through conservative media and it
eventually gathered traction.
The saga only ended in a surreal and extraordinary moment
in American politics when the sitting President went to the
White House briefing room in April 2011 and produced his
long-form birth certificate.

Trump campaign blames Clinton

In his statement Thursday night, Trump spokesman Jason
Miller said, “Mr. Trump did a great service to the President
and the country by bringing closure to the issue that Hillary
Clinton and her team first raised.”
He was referring to a controversy from the 2008 Democratic
primary fight between Obama and Clinton. In a March 2008
interview with “60 Minutes,” Clinton said she took then-Sen.
Obama’s word that he was not a Muslim, but when pressed
if she believed he was, she replied, “No. No, there is nothing
to base that on — as far as I know.”
Clinton, however, was not questioning Obama’s birthplace.
Clinton slammed Trump’s comments to the Post while
speaking at a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute
event in Washington Thursday, saying he needs to stop his
”ugliness” and “bigotry.”

“He was asked one more time: Where was President Obama
born? And he still wouldn’t say Hawaii. He still wouldn’t say
America. This man wants to be our next president? When
will he stop this ugliness, this bigotry,” she said. “This is the
best he can do. This is who he is. And so we need to decide
who we are.”
Clinton’s campaign later tweeted, “President Obama’s
successor cannot and will not be the man who led the racist
birther movement. Period.”

The ‘birther’ controversy

Regardless of the controversy’s origins, Trump has used it
to launch his political career. In 2011, he emerged as one of
the fringe movement’s leaders, repeatedly seeking to cast
doubt on Obama’s citizenship and legitimacy in office.
”I have people that have been studying (Obama’s birth
certificate) and they cannot believe what they’re finding … I
would like to have him show his birth certificate, and can I
be honest with you, I hope he can,” Trump said on NBC’s
”Today” show. “Because if he can’t, if he can’t, if he wasn’t
born in this country, which is a real possibility … then he
has pulled one of the great cons in the history of politics.”

He continued to make media appearances and call Obama’s
birthplace into question on Twitter, eventually pushing
Obama to release his long-form birth certificate — which
proves he was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961, and was
certified by Hawaii’s registrar — at a White House news
conference.
At his news conference, Obama said that it was time to put
to rest an issue that had dogged his White House since he
took office in 2009.
”We’re not going to be able to solve our problems if we get
distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers,” Obama said
at the time, in a clear reference to Trump.
But the real-estate billionaire, in a response that seemed
outlandish at the time, but in retrospect looks like a
template for the fact-challenged approach he adopted in his
presidential campaign, claimed credit for getting Obama to
produce evidence of his birthplace.

“Today I’m very proud of myself because I’ve accomplished
something that nobody else was able to accomplish,” Trump
said in New Hampshire, after Obama’s news conference.
In subsequent years, Obama jabbed fun at the birtherism
controversy and used it to ridicule Trump, most memorably
in a savage takedown of Trump at the White House
Correspondent’s Dinner in 2011.
”Now, I know that he’s taken some flak lately, but no one is
happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter
to rest than the Donald,” Obama said.
”And that’s because he can finally get back to focusing on
the issues that matter — like, did we fake the moon landing?
What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and
Tupac?”

(CNN)