Was Trump’s Lie About Obama’s Birth Certificate A Fatal Mistake? (TWEETS/VIDEO)

Beginning in 2011, Donald Trump rode on the bandwagon of people who insisted that President Barack Hussein Obama Jr.’s birth took place in Kenya and not in the United States. In April of that year, he stated during an interview:

“His grandmother in Kenya said, ‘Oh no, he was born in Kenya and I was there and I witnessed the birth.’ Now, she’s on tape and I think that tape’s going to be produced fairly soon …The grandmother in Kenya is on record saying he was born in Kenya.”

However, on the audio tape in question, a capture of a telephone call between Bishop Ron McRae of the Anabaptist Churches of North America and Barack Obama’s 86-year-old step-grandmother Sarah, conducted with the help of a translator, as Sarah is more comfortable speaking Swahili, she mentions clearly that Obama was not born in Mombasa, Kenya but in Hawai’i, which had been a U.S. state for just less than two years at the time of Obama’s birth there on August 4, 1961.

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Nonetheless, even after Obama released his long-form birth certificate in April 2011, and despite the fact that two Honolulu newspapers, The Honolulu Advertiser and the Star Bulletin, published announcements of his birth, Donald Trump continued to beat the dead horse, hoping to undermine Obama’s credibility during the 2012 election season.

Trump also arrogantly claimed that he was solely responsible for prompting President Obama to release his long-form birth certificate.

President Obama nonetheless handled the indignity with a respectable grace. At the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner, he announced that he would release the official video of his birth, then played the clip of Simba’s christening in the 1994 Walt Disney motion picture The Lion King with the footage altered to indicate that it was dated August 4, 1961.

As late as September 14, 2016 Donald Trump was reluctant to admit that President Obama was born in Hawai’i, despite the fact that his running mate, Mike Pence, conceded thusly. In an interview with The Washington Post, Trump remarked to Robert Costa:

“I’ll answer that question at the right time. I just don’t want to answer it yet.”

During that same interview, when asked about the accuracy of campaign manager Kellyanne Conway’s assertion that Obama was born in the U.S., Trump replied:

“It’s okay. She’s allowed to speak what she thinks. I want to focus on jobs. I want to focus on other things.”

For the benefit of clarifying Donald Trump’s statement to the Post, Jason Miller, the Senior Communications Advisor for Donald Trump’s 2016 Presidential campaign, issued a statement on September 15, 2016:

“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.

“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.

“Mr. Trump is now totally focused on bringing jobs back to America, defeating radical Islamic terrorism, taking care of our veterans, introducing school choice opportunities and rebuilding and making our inner cities safe again.”

Although Miller blamed Hillary Clinton for originating the smear during her 2008 primary battle with Barack Obama and despite the fact that the rumors that Obama was born in Kenya did bounce around some of her supporters at that time, there is no evidence that Hillary Clinton herself originated the false narrative in question, nor has the primary source of the fringe theory been identified.

Inevitably, Trump’s detractors, enraged that his representatives both blamed Hillary Clinton for the controversy surrounding Obama’s birth certificate and backed up the claim that Trump compelled Obama to release the document, gave it to the Donald in the neck.

Finally, on September 16, 2016, Donald Trump declared:

“Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it. I finished it. You know what I mean. President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period. Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again.”

On the day Trump made his concession, President Obama remarked:

“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. I was pretty confident about where I was born. I think most people were as well. My hope would be that the presidential election reflects more serious issues than that.”

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A clipping from the Honolulu Advertiser announcing the birth of Barack Hussein Obama Jr. on August 4, 1961.

Shortly after Trump’s speech, the members of the Congressional Black Caucus took him straight to the woodshed. Rep. G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina expressed disgust that Donald Trump did not apologize for five years of these shenanigans and called him a “disgusting fraud” and “an insult to the intellect of the American people.”

Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina noted:

“One of the things that we are all used to in this business is dog whistles,” he said. “But the thing that we’re not used to, and I find it very difficult getting used to, are the howls of wolves. These are howls, these are not whistles. These are in-your-face kinds of efforts on the part of one man who is utilizing – I should say misusing – in order to heap indignities on the President of the United States.”

From Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee:

“He has lived a life of bigotry. If you view America as a land of value and equality and justice, this man cannot be elected. We as African Americans have had enough. He has debased this election, but more importantly, he has disgraced himself in his lack of respect for the President of the United States of America.”

Rep. Gregory Meeks noted that Donald Trump has told fibs about numerous other things as well as Obama’s birthplace and birth certificate.

“This is not the first time he has lied — he continues to lie. He’s lied and he’s divided this country enough. He lied about Muslims, saying he saw thousands of them [celebrating] when the World Trade Center went down. He’s lied about Mexicans, he’s lied about women, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus are not going to take it anymore.”

In addition to President Obama and the Congressional Black Caucus being dismissive of Trump’s admission that Obama was born in the United States, a possibility has arisen that Trump may risk alienating the more fanatical people within his core voting demographic by giving assent to the truth about the President’s birthplace only days before the Presidential Debates are set to begin. According to CNN poll results dating from September 15, 2015, 20 percent of Americans surveyed believed that he was not born in the United States. It’s not impossible that enough of these people may be caught so far deep in the birther echo chamber that they would feel betrayed by Donald Trump reversing his position regarding Obama’s birthplace to the extent that they might opt out of voting for him and perhaps abstain from the polls altogether. Indeed, there is historical precedent, as beginning in 1963, numerous Southern Democrats, enraged that President John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson took up the cause of civil rights under pressure from Martin Luther King, opted to join the Republican party.

With that in mind, if Donald Trump’s perpetuation of a racist and fallacious conspiracy theory proves to be his undoing in the 2016 Election, he will have only brought it upon himself.

Fair use claimed for all images.

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