Tags: Trump Administration | Barack Obama | Donald Trump | Hillary Clinton | Trump | Clinton | Obama

Trump: 'Obama Was Born in the United States, Period'

(MSNBC/"Morning Joe")

By    |   Friday, 16 September 2016 02:33 PM

Donald Trump attempted Friday morning to put to rest the long-running controversy over whether Barack Obama was born in the U.S., declaring that "Obama was born in the United States, period."

His statement statement capped off a rally at his new Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., where he gathered numerous Medal of Honor recipients in front of a military audience.

Before he made the announcement and ended the rally, though, veterans lined up and one-by-one extolled Trump attributes as a leader they want in office.

At the end of the tributes, and to much applause, Trump made the statement he had teased earlier in an interview with Fox Business Network host Maria Bartiromo.

"Now, not to mention her in the same breath, but Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy," Trump declared. "I finished it. I finished it. You know what I mean. 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, thank you very much."

Earlier, in his interview with Bartiromo, Trump said Clinton first brought up the "birther" controversy in the 2008 Democratic primary, but he was cagey with a direct answer on whether he does believe Obama was born in the United States.

"I will make a big announcement on it today," Trump told Bartiromo.

But about Clinton, "she brought it up during the campaign," he told Bartiromo, while taking credit for forcing the issue.

"It was 2008 and it was brought up and I was the one that was successful in getting them to release the birth certificate," Trump said. "I will have a big statement made today at the hotel I'm very proud of."

Clinton's failure to get the birth certificate released is an example of her inability to follow through on an attack, Trump said.

"She is the one that started it, but she was incapable of finishing it," Trump said. "We will have a big statement and I hope you will be watching. I'll be making a major statement on this whole thing . . . we have to keep the suspense going. You watch the statement. I think you'll be happy."

In his statement, Trump accused Clinton and her campaign of starting the questions about Obama's birthplace, and that may not be entirely true, according to FactCheck.org, reporting that Clinton herself was not the one who asked the question and made it a campaign issue.

The website first disputed the claims in November 2008, the same year Clinton ran against Obama for the Democratic nomination.

"This claim was first advanced by die-hard Hillary Clinton supporters as her campaign for the party's nomination faded, and has enjoyed a revival among John McCain's partisans as he fell substantially behind Obama in public opinion polls,"

However, reports FactCheck, the claims ended up in chain emails and one of the first lawsuits over the president's birth certificate was not filed by a Republican, but by Philip Berg, a former deputy Pennsylvania attorney general and a Clinton supporter. 

Bloomberg News reports that during the 2008 Democratic contest, Clinton's senior strategist Mark Penn, wrote an internal memo to Clinton outlining the ways Obama's personal background and overseas travels made him different from most Americans.

"Every speech should contain the line that you were born in the middle of America to the middle class in the middle of the last century," Penn wrote in the memo, which was later leaked.

According to The New York Times, neither Clinton or her campaign publicly questioned the president's birthplace or citizenship.

Many Republicans have been pushing Trump to repudiate his comments, reports the Times, instead of taking claim for putting the birther claims to rest during a time when the issue threatens to alienate him from African-American voters.

Some of those closest to Trump, including running mate Mike Pence; campaign manager Kellyanne Conway; and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani have all commented this week that Obama is American-born.

Meanwhile, Trump's son, Donald Jr., told ABC's "Good Morning America" that he didn't know if his father would say he now believes Obama was born in the United States.

He did, though, say the statement issued by Trump campaign aide Jason Miller Thursday should be the "definitive end of it."

"We thought it was the definitive end when he acknowledged that, 'Hey, we got Obama to release his birth certificate' then but, again, we want to talk about jobs," Trump's son said. "We don't want to talk about gossip."

Miller made his statement after Trump declined, in an interview published in The Washington Post, to say if he believes Obama is a citizen.

"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," Miller said. "He did a great service to the president and the country by bringing closure to the issue . . . having successfully obtained President Obama's birth certificate when others could not, Mr. Trump believes that President Obama was born in the United States."

But Trump continued his arguments over Trump's birthplace even into this election cycle, telling CNN's Wolf Blitzer in January that he had his "own theory" that he would include in a new book, according to Business Insider.

At that time, Trump was also raising questions about then-rival Sen. Ted Cruz being born in Canada, to an American mother and a Cuban-immigrant father.

In the Blitzer interview, Trump urged Cruz to obtain a "declaratory judgment" about his citizenship, even though legal experts had said Cruz would not have a problem, as he and Obama were both born to mothers who were U.S. citizens.

Clinton has called Trump's comments "bigotry," and her campaign spokesman, Brian Fallon, called on Twitter for Trump to "admit he was wrong for trying to delegitimize the country's first African American president."

The topic also headlined MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program, where host Joe Scarborough pointed out the birther claim was first advanced by "die-hard Hillary Clinton supporters."

Bloomberg politics editor Mark Halperin said he thinks Trump will talk further about the controversy on Friday, and it will be the "latest chapter in, I think, one of the darkest, darkest blots on his record as a public presence leading the birther movement and even in this latest statement being disingenuous about what his role was."

He further said he hopes the media doesn't give Trump credit for "taking a victory lap" on the issue.


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Donald Trump attempted Friday morning to put to rest the long-running controversy over whether Barack Obama was born in the U.S., declaring that "Obama was born in the United States, period."
Trump, Clinton, Obama, Birther, Issue
Friday, 16 September 2016 02:33 PM
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