For the past 1,997 days, Donald Trump has publicly questioned the birth place of Barack Obama. Today, his campaign lied about it.
Having been one of the loudest proponents of “birtherism,” Trump owes much of his right-wing popularity to the kickstart he got when he sent a series of ugly, racist accusations about where Obama was born in 2011 and 2012. His openness to talk about birtherism propelled him into conservative superstardom and landed him frequent guest spots on Fox News and other right-wing media. It’s arguably the reason he is now the current Republican nominee.
As recently as January of 2016, Trump was floating the idea that he had a book in the works that would lay out proof that Obama was a foreigner. It would be “very successful.” Of course it would.
“I mean, I have my own theory on Obama. Someday I’ll write a book. I’ll do another book. It’ll do very successfully.”
Trump has since then been relatively quiet about it, because A) it’s indefensibly racist and B) Obama has proven that he was born in the United States with the release of his long form birth certificate.
But despite the evidence, Trump has never apologized. And when reporters ask him about birtherism, he refuses to even talk about it. He’s held out for 1,997 days.
But on September 15, Hillary Clinton called him on it and the ensuing controversy forced Trump’s campaign (if not Trump himself) to respond. In a sickening letter, the campaign leveled a series of shameless lies and spun a tale so utterly without merit that reporters are describing it charitably as “detached from reality.”
Here’s what they claim happened. And we’ll split it up because the sheer number of lies is worth exploring piece by piece.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign first raised this issue to smear then-candidate Barack Obama in her very nasty, failed 2008 campaign for President. This type of vicious and conniving behavior is straight from the Clinton Playbook. As usual, however, Hillary Clinton was too weak to get an answer. Even the MSNBC show Morning Joe admits that it was Clinton’s henchmen who first raised this issue, not Donald J. Trump.
Already this is a lie. The Clinton campaign in 2008 did not “first raise” the issue of birtherism. It had been around conservative circles for months before it gained mainstream traction. And Clinton never promoted the ugly rumor. That is also a lie. This is something Trump presumably already knows because he’s already earned a “false” rating on Politifact for this particular lie almost one year ago to the day.
The Trump campaign’s letter wasn’t finished lying, however.
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. 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. 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.
Yes, that is Donald Trump’s campaign saying President Obama should be grateful for the “great service” Trump did for him and America by spending a year repeatedly suggesting he had found evidence that Obama was not born in the United States. His claim that this issue was put to rest in 2011 is also a lie. Trump went on claiming Obama was born somewhere else for years.
And he even once suggested that the birth certificate he now says is his crowning achievement was a forgery.
He would later shut up about it, but he would never publicly retract anything he had said, including the time he told the family of a man who had just been killed in a plane crash that Obama had him murdered.
How amazing, the State Health Director who verified copies of Obama’s “birth certificate” died in plane crash today. All others lived
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2013
It’s notable that Trump’s campaign had to release this letter. Trump himself still refuses to talk about it. Even now, even after all of this time, Trump either will not or cannot admit that he was lying. Instead, his campaign has to work overtime to write a sneeringly cynical piece of fiction to justify Trump’s reprehensible behavior. Trump, a coward, loved the publicity his birtherism got him but hates the sound of the other shoe dropping.
Featured image via Sara D. Davis/Getty Images