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

What planet is this?

Mike Segar/Reuters via ZUMA Press

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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.

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It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you’ll agree is worth supporting.

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