Trump now believes Obama was born in US, says Campaign manager
“He believes President Obama was born here… He was born in Hawaii,” Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway told CNN.
The remarks echoed those of Trump surrogate Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, who went on television late Thursday to assure Americans that Trump now accepts the legitimacy of Obama’s citizenship.
“Donald Trump believes now that (Obama) was born in the United States,” Giuliani told MSNBC.
“I believe it. He believes it. We all believe it. It took a long time to get out.”
Trump was the most prominent early proponent of a theory that Obama, the nation’s first black president, was not born in the United States and therefore, under the US Constitution, ineligible to be commander in chief.
Trump embraced the long-debunked “birther movement” in early 2011, eager to push the theory as a way to connect with white conservatives and catapult himself into prominence while he mulled his own run for the White House.
That year, he routinely called on Obama to produce his long-form birth certificate, a demand that African-American leaders warned was stirring up racial animosity in the middle of Obama’s presidency.
Obama eventually did produce the document in 2011, which appeared at the time to put the matter to rest once and for all.
But in August 2012, just three months before that year’s election, Trump revived the controversy with a stunning tweet: “An ‘extremely credible source’ has called my office and told me that @BarackObama’s birth certificate is a fraud.”
Nearly four years later, in 2016, Trump rode to primary victory thanks overwhelmingly to white support.
But with Democratic rival Hillary Clinton leading him in most polls, Trump will need to expand his base of support in order to win the White House. Distancing himself from his birther claims is seen as an important step in that effort.
Asked why Trump himself has not yet announced his belief that Obama was born in the United States, Conway said “you have to ask him.”
“But the point is, what kind of president has he been?” she posed.
“He’s not been a particularly successful president, and that’s what this campaign is about on our side.”
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