Was yesterday opposite day? It really felt like opposite day as Donald Trump relented on a personally held belief in the face of overwhelming evidence. He actually admitted that President Obama was born in the United States. Period.
“Hillary Clinton, and her campaign of 2008, started the birther controversy. I finished it,” Trump said yesterday. “I finished it. President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period. Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again. Thank you.”
Trump’s tone in that statement was very strange and accusatory, almost as though he were talking down to a child saying “Of course the President was born in the US.” This is in opposition to Trump’s spearheading of the “birther” movement for the better part of a decade.
While it was slightly surprising that Donald Trump came out and admitted that the position that brought him into the national political spotlight was wrong, it was pretty shocking that he then turned around and tried to blame Hillary Clinton for starting the accusations. Is there any truth to this?
The claim that Clinton started the birther controversy is an old one, and has been debunked many times over the last eight years. No one has ever produced a clip, soundbite or email from Hillary Clinton promoting the idea that Obama was not born in the US. There is literally zero evidence that she or her campaign were behind this rumor.
Birthers will point to a Clinton strategy memo from 2007 which suggested that the Clinton campaign use Obama’s “lack of American roots” against him, but nowhere in the memo does it suggest that he was not born in the US.
There were some disaffected Clinton supporters that were circulating the “evidence” of Obama’s foreign birth via email, forums and chat rooms after Clinton conceded in 2008, but that is a far cry from Clinton herself or the Clinton campaign giving credence to the claims.
Here is another case of Trump turning his own shortcomings as a candidate towards his opponent as a smoke screen. Trump cannot produce one instance of Hillary Clinton even promoting much less starting the birther movement, while Trump spent years making it a signature issue for him. Now he finally admits that he was wrong, but has to spin it towards his opponent. It pains me as an American that so many of fellow citizens are buying such an obvious and clumsy con. But that’s what Trump is: an obvious and clumsy con man.