PRESIDENTIAL RACE | Reversing course, Trump admits President Obama was born in US
WASHINGTON (AP) — After five years as the chief promoter of the false idea that Barack Obama wasn't born in the United States, Donald Trump reversed course and admitted today that the president was – and then claimed credit for putting the issue to rest.
"President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period," Trump said in a brief statement read at the end of a campaign appearance. "Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again."
But as Trump sought to put that false conspiracy theory to rest, he stoked another, claiming that the "birther movement" was started by rival Hillary Clinton. There is no evidence that that is true.
"Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it," Trump said. "I finished it, you know what I mean."
While the birther theory was pushed by some bloggers who backed Clinton's primary campaign against Obama eight years ago, Clinton has long denounced what she's called a "racist lie" that sought to "de-legitimize America's first black president."
"Leading the birther movement is deplorable," Clinton tweeted after Trump's event today. "Attempting to say it 'did a great service' to the president who Trump attacked is asinine."
Trump's statement, in a sprawling ballroom at his new Washington hotel, lasted only a few seconds after a lengthy campaign event featuring military officers and award winners who have endorsed him.