A day after Donald Trump refused to tell the Washington Post whether he thinks President Barack Obama was born in the United States, his campaign put out a statement saying he believes it to be the case.
“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,” read the statement from Trump’s communications adviser, Jason Miller. “Having successfully obtained President Obama’s birth certificate when others could not, Mr. Trump believes that President Obama was born in the United States.”
On the surface, Miller’s statement seems like a final, reluctant step in a multi-year attempt Trump has made to raise doubts about Obama; the real estate mogul just now accepting the current president’s Hawaiian birth under the intense pressure of his own campaign.
In actuality, the Miller statement says very little about Trump’s beliefs. After all, several of Trump’s most prominent surrogates have said in the past week that Trump was done dabbling in birtherism. And yet, on Wednesday afternoon, there Trump was, refusing to say he no longer doubted Obama’s validity for the office.
“I’ll answer that question at the right time,” Trump told the Washington Post’s Robert Costa. “I just don’t want to answer it yet.”
In the past, Trump has insisted that the final word on his stances comes from his mouth only.
So until he is willing to make the concession himself, it’s likely the matter will still dog him as it did on Thursday.
In addition to casting doubt on whether Trump actually has foresworn birtherism or merely instructed an aide to do so on his behalf, Democrats also quibbled with specific elements of Thursday night’s statement. While the statement said that Trump was able to bring the birther issue to conclusion in 2011 ― when Obama unveiled his long-form birth certificate ― in reality, Trump continued propagating the conspiracy theory well after 2012. Here is a sampling of his more offending tweets.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.