From Washington Examiner
Republican Donald Trump has been pressed by the news media to acknowledge President Obama was born in the U.S. But once he did, columnists and editorial boards discounted his reversal on the issue on the grounds that it came too late or was insufficiently remorseful.
A Washington Post editorial published Monday night said the GOP nominee’s admission last week that Obama “was born in the United States, period,” was inconsequential.
“It matters not a whit,” the paper said, “that Mr. Trump has finally, for blatant political purposes, admitted that the president was born in the United States; large numbers of his partisans, and of Republicans generally, still don’t believe Mr. Obama has a legitimate claim to the office he has held for nearly eight years. … The cancer of corruption perpetuated by Mr. Trump’s dazzling dishonesty has infected not only his campaign but also the Republican Party, which falls in line, sheeplike, to defend his every lie.”
At the same time, Post columnist Richard Cohen wrote that Trump’s turnabout on the so-called birther matter came “only under intense pressure — not out of conviction.”
Charles Blow of the New York Times rejected Trump’s announcement over the weekend, calling it “too little, too late; too contrived, too strategic and too lacking in context.”
It was on Friday that, during a campaign event in his new Washington, D.C., hotel, Trump spent less than a minute attempting to undo the very thing that launched him onto the national political scene in 2011.
“Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it,” he said. “President Obama was born in the United States. Period,” he added. “Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again.”
By claiming that he “finished” the controversy — the White House did in 2011 end up releasing a short-form birth certificate showing Obama was born in Hawaii — and by saying it was started by Hillary Clinton’s 2008 Democratic campaign for president, Trump both took credit and shirked any responsibility for it.
The Clinton campaign’s role in the issue is still debated, partly due to a campaign memo that questioned then-candidate Obama’s “lack of American roots” and also because many mainstream news reporters claim that longtime Clinton ally Sidney Blumenthal circulated rumors about Obama’s background.
Leading up to Friday’s announcement, Trump was repeatedly challenged in news interviews to acknowledge that Obama’s presidency was legitimate.
The Post last Wednesday asked Trump if he still believed the president was not born in the U.S. “I’ll answer that question at the right time,” he said.
Picking up the story, the Times said Trump “refused again to acknowledge that President Obama was born in the United States, reviving the so-called birther issue that the Republican presidential nominee has played down since announcing his campaign last year.”
On Sept. 8, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews asked Trump surrogate and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani if Trump no longer believed in the conspiracy theory. Giuliani said Trump no longer did.
Last year, Matthews told Trump himself he believed it was the candidate’s “original sin” to have pushed the birther conspiracy.
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