Donald Trump has once again raised the long disproven notion that President Obama was not born in the United States, stirring up controversy on Wednesday and then at least attempting to put the issue to rest on Friday.
The controversy began anew on Wednesday when Trump refused to acknowledge to The Washington Post that Obama was, in fact, born in Hawaii. The Republican nominee then issued a statement via Senior Communications Advisor Jason Miller on Thursday that did not succeed in putting things to rest.
Although the statement includes the phrase, “Mr. Trump believes that President Obama was born in the United States,” critics jumped on the fact that Trump neither issued the statement under his own name nor made the statement in person and in public.
“Trump needs to say it himself. On camera. And admit he was wrong for trying to delegitimize the country’s first African American President,” Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon wrote on Twitter.
What’s more, many soon complained that the Miller statement was, at its core, an attack on Hillary Clinton masquerading as a definitive response to the birther controversy. Miller writes that 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. Inarguably, Donald J. Trump is a closer.”
Indeed, as the birther statement-cum-campaign attack suggests, Trump appears to be using the birther issue for maximum political gain. When asked about the issue on Fox on Friday morning, Trump insisted that he would make a “big announcement” on the issue later in the day, stringing things out for maximum effect.
“We know that Obama now — he was born in America, correct?” Fox host Maria Bartiromo asked Trump.
“You watch my statement,” Trump responded. “I have to — we have to keep the suspense going, okay? So you watch.”
Finally, on Friday, Trump came out with an official, definitive statement on the matter, saying that “Obama was born in the U.S., period.”
The suspense, of course, should have ended in April 2011, when Obama produced his long-form birth certificate in a public address made from the White House briefing room.
Now, after more than a year of one of the most divisive presidential campaigns in history, it’s easy to forget that Trump got started on the national political stage when he emerged as one of the leaders of the birther movement that eventually forced Obama to produce the certificate.
And with fewer than 50 days until this year’s elections and his poll numbers rising, Trump appears on intent on getting some political mileage out of the issue once more.
Next, watch the astounding recent video in which Trump refers to Obama as “the founder of ISIS.” Then, check out some of the truly appalling names that happen to be on the list of Donald Trump’s supporters. Finally, have a look at three issues that Donald Trump gets right.