Donald Trump doesn't "know why" black people are offended by racist birther theory

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Donald Trump says he is unsure if his attempt to delegitimize President Barack Obama's presidency by pushing the racist "birther" conspiracy — which questioned Obama's citizenship — hurt him among African-American voters. 

"I don't know. I have no idea. I don't even talk about it anymore," Trump said in an interview Tuesday night with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly. "I just don't bother talking about it."

Asked whether he thought the conspiracy theory harmed his standing with black voters, Trump responded, "I don't know, I have no idea. I just don't bother talking about it but I don't know. I guess with maybe some, I don't know why, I really don't know why. You're the first one that's brought that up in a while."

Trump was one of the loudest and most prominent voices among the birther movement, which for months pushed a false conspiracy that Obama was born in Kenya and not the United States, thus making him ineligible to serve as president. 

The conspiracy was an attempt to delegitimize Obama's presidency. It was also a racist dog whistle, given its thesis that the country's first black president was an African. 

Source: YouTube

Obama ultimately released his long-form birth certificate showing he was born in Hawaii, and even made jokes about Trump's baseless conspiracy theories during the 2011 White House Correspondents' Dinner as Trump looked on — an uncomfortable moment some say helped lead to Trump's presidential bid. 

Source: YouTube

There is no polling data that suggests Trump's attempt to delegitimize the first black president is the main reason why Trump is doing so poorly among black voters. 

However, it's just one of the many reasons black voters are almost universally rejecting Trump, according to poll data.

In fact, one recent poll found Trump lagging behind not only Hillary Clinton but also the two main third-party candidates — Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein — receiving just 2% of the vote. 

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Emily C. Singer

Emily C. Singer, née Cahn, is a senior writer for Mic covering politics. She is based in New York and can be reached at esinger@mic.com

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