- REUTERS/Mike Segar
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump acknowledged on Friday that President Barack Obama was born in the United States, a major reversal from years of questioning Obama’s birthplace.
“President Barack Obama was born in the United States,” Trump said at a press conference. “Period. Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again.”
Trump also blamed the birther movement on his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, though no one in her 2008 campaign ever advanced any charge that Obama was born outside the US.
“Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy,” Trump said. “I finished it. I finished it. You know what I mean.”
At the 30-minute event, during which Trump was expected to address birtherism, several generals and admirals from the US military came out and endorsed Trump. Trump didn’t address the birther issue until the very end of the event, as cable networks breathlessly carried what had been billed as a “major statement” by Trump.
During the 2012 election cycle, Trump repeatedly called on Obama to release his birth certificate to prove that he was born in the US. While there had been rumors circulating 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.
The birther movement had roots in the 2008 Democratic primary. David Plouffe, then Obama’s campaign manager, said the Clinton campaign was guilty of “shameful offensive fear-mongering” by circulating a photo calling attention to Obama’s African heritage.
Oliver Darcy contributed to this report.