The campaign of Republican nominee Donald Trump released a statement late Thursday stating the candidate believes President Barack Obama was born in the United States.
When Trump was asked by Fox Business’s Maria Bartiromo Friday morning about the issue, which he had yet to address directly at the time, he hinted that he would make a statement about it during a speech in Washington, D.C., later in the day.
“We have to keep the suspense going, OK?” he told Bartiromo.
“So you watch. You’re my friend. You watch the statement, OK?” he said. “I think you’ll be happy.”
Several hours later, Trump finally did address the issue, reversing his previously stated doubts about the president’s birthplace and telling an audience in Washington, DC that “President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period.”
This comes on the heels of Trump’s Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, bringing the issue up on Thursday in a speech to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, blasting the Republican nominee for continuing to refuse to admit that President Obama was born in the United States and once again lambasting him for what she believes to be bigotry.
Early Friday morning, Clinton slammed the Trump campaign’s statement on the matter, blaming their candidate for what she says are his previous actions of spreading the belief that Obama wasn’t born in America and helping to grow the “birther” movement.
“For five years he has led the birther movement to delegitimize our first black president,” she said, adding that the Republican nominee’s campaign was “founded on this outrageous lie.”
Clinton has brought “birtherism” up in the campaign several times and it is an issue that has hurt him among black voters, who generally have a highly unfavorable view of his candidacy.
Hours after Clinton brought the issue up on Thursday, the Trump campaign released a statement on the matter, with Trump spokesman Jason Miller claiming that while we have proof of President Obama being born in Hawaii, Trump’s questions about the president’s birth place five years ago are the reason for that.
“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 continued, arguing that the Republican nominee actually helped end an issue that he says Hillary Clinton started.
“Mr. Trump did a great service to the president and the country by bringing closure to the issue that Hillary Clinton and her team first raised,” he added.
Fact checks indicate that while Hillary Clinton’s campaign did not actually engage in pushing the “birther” theory, its origins do seem to stem from hardcore supporters of her failed 2008 Democratic presidential primary campaign against then-Senator Obama.
Miller went on, concluding that “Inarguably, Donald J. Trump is a closer. Having successfully obtained President Obama’s birth certificate when others could not, Mr. Trump believes that President Obama was born in the United States.”
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