( 4UMF NEWS ) :
Race bait and switch.
After years of racist rumor-mongering that President Obama wasn’t born in America, Donald Trump finally admitted he was — while falsely claiming that it was Hillary Clinton, not him, who fueled the racially charged conspiracy theory.
“Hillary Clinton and her campaign in 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it,” he lied during a brief statement after he tricked the cable networks into airing a 20-minute infomercial of military veterans praising his campaign. “President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period. Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again.”
The comments were an abrupt about-face after years of Trump leading the charge of unfounded claims that the nation’s first black president may not have been born in the United States and demanding Obama release his birth certificate to prove he was born in Hawaii.
Trump declined to apologize for his role as ringleader of the birther movement in seeking to discredit the president, while seeking to blame Clinton’s team for starting the rumors.
And he refused to take questions from reporters after manipulating the national cable networks into airing what amounted to a 20-minute infomercial for his new hotel and his campaign, featuring military veterans singing his praises, rather than the press conference his campaign had promised.
He then took the cameras on a tour of his hotel — while staff physically blocked reporters from following him to ask any questions, the latest example of his refusal to allow the press even basic access.
The manipulative event drew a swift rebuke from Democrats.
“Trump’s actions today were disgraceful. After five years of pushing a racist conspiracy theory into the mainstream, it was appalling to watch Trump appoint himself the judge of whether the President of the United States is American,” Clinton Campaign Manager Robby Mook said in a statement. “This sickening display shows more than ever why Donald Trump is totally unfit to be president.”
“What a liar,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) declared during a CNN interview right after Trump concluded. “He is one of the most unbelievably immoral people I’ve ever heard deal with politics.”
Trump was the loudest, nastiest voice pushing unfounded questions about whether Obama had been born in Kenya or Indonesia rather than Hawaii, fueling the once-fringe racist movement in the early years of the Obama presidency.
Even after Obama released his long-form birth certificate in 2011 Trump kept up the drumbeat of conspiracy theories, saying the document may have been a forgery and raising suspicions about the death of the government employee who released it.
While a senior Clinton advisor privately pushed in 2008 to question Obama’s upbringing, he never questioned Obama’s birthplace — and Clinton and her team refused to follow up on his suggestion to attack Obama’s years overseas as a child.
Trump has tried to avoid discussing the topic ever since he jumped into the presidential race, sidestepping his past racism on this particular issue. But as recently as March, he was still questioning whether Obama had actually released his birth certificate.
“When I questioned he gave whatever it was he gave. I’m not exactly sure what he gave but he gave something called a birth certificate. I don’t know if it was or not,” he said on Fox News early this year.
“President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period. Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again.” NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images
“President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period. Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again.”
As late as 2014, he took to Twitter to brag that he was “the one who got Obama to release his birth certificate, or whatever that was!” — once again casting doubt on whether Obama ha actually put out a legitimate birth certificate, after in 2012 claiming an “extremely credible source” had told him it was a “fraud.”
Trump even promised in 2011 to release his tax returns if Obama put out his birth certificate. He has still refused to do so, making him the first major-party presidential candidate in 40 years who hasn’t released his taxes.
As recently as Wednesday, Trump told the Washington Post that he said he’d “answer the question at the right time” and doesn’t “want to answer it yet” — even after senior campaign staff said he had come to accept the fact that Obama was born in the U.S.
That prompted his campaign to put out a statement looking to clarify on the issue — while ludicrously claiming that Trump had helped clear up the birther issue rather than fuel the conspiracy theory while inaccurately claiming that Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign had publicly begun the rumor.
“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. 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. Inarguably, Donald J. Trump is a closer. Having successfully obtained President Obama’s birth certificate when others could not, Mr. Trump believes that President Obama was born in the United States,” Trump spokesman Jason Miller said in a Thursday night statement.
Hillary Clinton — and Obama — weren’t having any of it.
“For five years he has led the birther movement to delegitimize the first black president … his campaign is founded on this outrageous lie. There’s no erasing it,” she said Friday morning at a separate event in Washington. “He is feeding into the worst impulses, the bigotry and bias that lurks in our country. Barack Obama was born in America, plain and simple, and Donald Trump owes him and the American people an apology.”
The president rolled his eyes at Trump’s antics in an Oval Office statement.
“We’ve got other business to attend to. I was pretty confident about where I was born. I think most people are as well. And my hope is that the presidential election reflects more serious issues than that,” Obama said in response to a question about the issue shortly before Trump’s media event.