- REUTERS/Carlos Barria
The Hillary Clinton campaign released a statement on Friday blasting Donald Trump for holding a press conference to state that he now believes President Barack Obama was, in fact, born in the United States.
“Trump’s actions today were disgraceful,” said Robby Mook, Clinton campaign manager. “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.”
He continued: “This sickening display shows more than ever why Donald Trump is totally unfit be president.”
During the press conference, Trump also blamed the birther movement on Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee.
While no one in Clinton’s 2008 campaign ever advanced any charge that Obama was born outside the US, the birther movement did have some roots in the 2008 Democratic primary. David Plouffe, then Obama’s campaign manager, said at the time that the Clinton campaign was guilty of “shameful offensive fear-mongering” by circulating a photo calling attention to Obama’s African heritage.
“Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy,” Trump said Friday. “I finished it. I finished it. You know what I mean.”
During the 2012 election cycle, Trump, now the Republican presidential nominee, repeatedly called on Obama to release his birth certificate to prove that he was born in the US. While rumors had circulated before 2011 about Obama’s birthplace, Trump is widely credited with bringing birtherism into the mainstream.
Trump demanded publicly for months that Obama release his longform birth certificate. As the issue gained more attention, Obama eventually relented and released the document.