Donald Trump’s campaign tries and fails to rewrite the history of his birther beliefs

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Donald Trump's campaign attempted to rewrite the history of the Republican presidential nominee's long record of pushing the racist birther conspiracy that sought to delegitimize Barack Obama's presidency by claiming he was not an American citizen, releasing a statement Thursday night laden with falsehoods and blatant lies that seemed to only make the problem worse.

The statement came after Trump refused to back away from his birtherism in an interview with the Washington Post, telling reporter Robert Costa that he wasn't ready to say whether Obama was in fact born in the United States.

"I'll answer that question at the right time," Trump told Costa. "I just don't want to answer it yet."

Springing into action to try and fix their candidate's mess, the Trump campaign sought to distance Trump from birtherism — a conspiracy for which he was the most prominent supporter. 

"In 2011, Mr. Trump was finally able to bring this ugly incident to its conclusion by successfully compelling President Obama to release his birth certificate," Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller said in a statement.

Obama indeed released his birth certificate in 2011 — but Trump continued to cast doubt on the certificate's legitimacy long after the certificate's release.

For example, in 2012 he again tweeted the falsehood that Obama was born in Kenya.

In August of that same year, he tweeted that the certificate Obama released was a fraud.

In 2013, he tried to cast doubt on the certificate's legitimacy with an innuendo-laden tweet about how the one person who could verify the certificate's authenticity was dead.

And in August of 2015, he told CNN in an interview that he still wasn't sure whether Obama was born in the U.S.

"I don't know. I really don't know. I don't know why he wouldn't release his records," Trump told CNN's Anderson Cooper. 

In another eyebrow-raising line in the statement released Thursday, the campaign claims the birther theory "did a great service to the president" by "bringing closure to the issue that Hillary Clinton and her team first raised."

However, it's a widely debunked factoid that Clinton started the birther conspiracy. 


The Trump campaign continued to send out mixed message on the candidate's birtherism Friday morning, with Trump saying he wants to "keep the suspense going" a bit longer but the candidate's son saying Trump believes Obama was born in the U.S.

In all, the renewed focus on Trump's birtherism comes as Trump inches closer to Clinton in the polls, giving Democrats heartburn and increasing the chances that he could be elected president in November. 

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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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