ABC anchor Martha Raddatz grilled Indiana Gov. Mike Pence over Donald Trump’s previous longstanding belief that President Barack Obama was not born in the US.
During an interview on ABC that aired for over six minutes on Sunday, Raddatz repeatedly questioned Pence about why the Republican presidential nominee continued to peddle the discredited conspiracy theory despite overwhelming evidence that Obama was born in the US.
“I know you say you want to talk about issues. But Mr. Trump could’ve put this issue to bed a long time ago,” Raddatz said.
She added: “He kept this issue going. Why did it take him so long to say that the president was born in the United States, which is a fact?”
The ABC anchor continued to press Pence after he acknowledged “without hesitation” that Obama was born in the US, but characterized the questions as a “sidebar debate.”
“This is not what the American people are talking about. Donald Trump put this to an end yesterday in Washington. It’s over,” Pence said.
“Why did it take him so long to put it to an end? It’s not over,” Raddatz replied.
Raddatz accused Trump of perpetuating falsehoods about Obama’s birthplace that “fueled conspiracy theories,” asking Pence whether Trump was wrong to stand by his birther questions for years.
Pence doubled down, arguing that Hillary Clinton’s “defenders in the national media” were attempting to “distract attention from her dishonest and her disastrous record on the foreign stage.”
“Our campaign just really isn’t focused on the past,” Pence said.
The interview came days after the real-estate magnate finally acknowledged that Obama was indeed born in the US. Trump unapologetically questioned Obama’s birthplace in the face of evidence that he was born in Hawaii, even after the president released his long-form birth certificate.