Almost Every Word of Donald Trump’s Birther Statement Is a Lie

What planet is this?

Mike Segar/Reuters via ZUMA Press


On Thursday night Donald Trump spokesman Jason Miller sent out a statement declaring that the Republican presidential nominee believes President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Miller’s statement credited Trump with heroically pushing Obama to release his long-form birth certificate in 2011, putting an end to a “vicious and conniving” smear first crafted by Hillary Clinton in 2008.

Here’s the statement:

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.

Except that’s not true. Indeed, virtually every line of the statement is a lie.

Hillary Clinton did not allege that the president was born in Kenya. Trump did not compel Obama to release his birth certificate “when others had not”—Obama had already released a copy of his birth certificate, but critics, including Trump, believed it to be a fake. So Obama released a longer birth certificate in 2011—but that release did not bring “closure” to the issue. Instead, Trump called it a forgery, citing “Israeli science,” and announced that he was sending a team of investigators to Hawaii to uncover the truth. He suggested that a Hawaiian health official who knew of the cover-up had died in suspicious circumstances.

He alleged that the president’s real name was, for some reason, “Barry Soweto,” and that Obama had himself once confessed to being born in Kenya.

Other than that, though, it’s a good start.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.