The Republican Party’s presidential candidate Donald Trump has finally acknowledged that US President Barack Obama was born in the United States, and his admission quickly drew criticism for perpetuating a racist conspiracy.
“President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period,” said Trump on Friday, reversing his long-held position casting doubt on the veracity of Obama’s birthplace, which was known as the “birther” controversy.
Trump had for years promoted the Birther Movement against Obama, who was born in Hawaii to an American mother and a Kenyan father, questioning his birthplace and, by association, the legality of his presidency.
In 2012, the New York businessman turned presidential candidate wrote on Twitter that Obama’s birth certificate was “a fraud”.
An 'extremely credible source' has called my office and told me that @BarackObama's birth certificate is a fraud.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 6, 2012
Without offering evidence, Trump on Friday also accused his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton of starting the birther allegations during her 2008 presidential primary campaign.
“She is the one that started it, and she was unable or incapable of finishing it. That’s the way it worked out,” Trump said.
Clinton was quick to respond, saying that Trump’s news conference about Obama’s birthplace was a “disgrace”, and her Republican rival had expressed “zero regret” for years of “pushing a racist conspiracy theory”.
Clinton said in a series of tweets that when Trump tries to “deflect blame” for denying that Obama was born in the US, her Republican opponent was “lying”.
“He had the audacity to spout a new lie about the Birther Movement that he helped to build,” the Democratic National Committee said.
Again, Trump turns his faults on others. Psychologists call it "projecting." Kids call it "I'm rubber, you're glue." https://t.co/lKDDD0wwsn
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) September 16, 2016
Bernie Sanders, who was Hillary Clinton’s rival in the Democratic presidential nomination race, said in a tweet: “The Birther Movement was about delegitimising the first African-American president in our history.”
My dad was born in Poland. Do you know how many people ever asked me whether or not I was born in America? Nobody ever asked me that.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) September 16, 2016
The head of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), Democratic Representative GK Butterfield, of North Carolina, called Trump a “disgusting fraud”. Other members of the CBC told reporters that Trump has tried to delegitimise Obama, the first African-American president.
Congressional Black Caucus (Rep. Greg Meeks): Trump has lied about Obama, lied about Muslims, lied about women. pic.twitter.com/6Cu50a48tc
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) September 16, 2016
So, yeah. I'm judging you if after Central Park 5 & discriminatory renting & original birtherism &… you were still giving Trump a pass. 😒
— April (@ReignOfApril) September 16, 2016
Civil rights activist Jesse James pointed out that Trump now owes Obama an apology.
— Rev Jesse Jackson Sr (@RevJJackson) September 16, 2016
Members of the CBC also held a news conference later on Friday to urge African-American voters to “resist any temptation to support Trump”.
Celebrities also voiced their criticism of Trump’s latest stunt. Actress Mia Farrow said: “Listen now to the Members of Congressional Black Caucus and understand the pain Trump is inflicting on our fellow Americans.”
The only true statement out of the demagogue's mouth was this:
"President Obama was born in America. Period."#SuburbanWhiteVotesMatter
— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) September 16, 2016
Obama declined to comment on Trump, telling reporters that he had better things to do.
“I’m shocked that a question like that would come up at a time when we’ve got so many other things to do – well, I’m not that shocked actually,” Obama said.
In 2011, Obama, released a long-form version of his birth certificate showing he was born in Hawaii.