On Friday Donald Trump, the Republican Party nominee for president, reluctantly admitted that the issue he’d used to launch his political career was a lie.
– CNN host Michael Smerconish
“President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period,” Trump said, in a sound bite at the end of 20-minute news conference at his new White-House adjacent hotel in Washington, D.C.
True to form, Trump refused to accept personal responsibility for the racially tinged falsehood that made him the darling of the GOP base, of course. Instead, he blamed someone else.
“She started it,” Trump said, in effect. Literally, he said, “Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy,” which is a lie.
And then he told another lie. “I finished it,” he said. “I finished it.” In fact, after the president released his long-form birth certificate, Trump refused to acknowledge its authenticity.
Trump’s announcement was preceded on Thursday by a bizarre, amateurishly constructed statement issued by his campaign (but likely written by the candidate himself) that laid the groundwork for blameshifting the rise of birtherism onto Clinton. In doing so, however, Trump inadvertently excoriated the birther movement and the 61 percent of his own followers who believe the president is foreign-born and thus ineligible to be president.
In the statement, he called birtherism a “smear” and an “ugly incident,” and described those who peddle it as “very nasty” and “vicious and conniving.”