At Debate, Trump Says He “Did a Good Job” On Racist Birther Issue

Hillary Clinton sharply criticized Donald Trump for pushing a “racist birther lie” about President Obama during a heated exchange at Monday night’s presidential debate at Hofstra University.

Moderator Lester Holt asked Trump to explain his yearslong campaign supporting the conspiracy theory questioning Obama’s citizenship and birthplace.

“I was the one that got him to produce the birth certificate, and I think I did a good job,” Trump said.

“We’re talking about racial healing in this segment,” Holt interjected. “What do you say to Americans, people of color, who…”

Trump cut him off. “I say nothing,” he said, again congratulating himself for getting Obama to release his long-form birth certificate from Hawaii in 2011.

Rather than answer the question, Trump set off on a fantastical diversion. He reiterated the lie that Clinton started the racist Birther conspiracy. Then he went further to claim that Clinton’s campaign manager in 2008 admitted it on CNN last week:

“[H]er campaign manager, Patty Doyle, went to — they were in the campaign, her campaign against President Obama, fought very hard – and you can go look it up and you can check it out – and if you look at CNN this past week, Patty Solis Doyle was on Wolf Blitzer saying that this happened.”

That didn’t happen, Trump is misrepresenting what was said in the Wolf Blitzer interview. Here is the video on CNN where Solis Doyle explained that a rogue staffer sent out an email promoting a birther conspiracy, and that person was promptly fired, which does not match at all what Trump described.

“There was a volunteer coordinator, I believe in late 2007, I think in December. One of our volunteer coordinators in one of the counties in Iowa, I don’t recall whether they were an actual a paid staffer, but they did forward an email that promoted the conspiracy.”

“The birther conspiracy?” Blitzer asked.
“Yeah. Hillary made the decision immediately to let that person go. We let that person go, and it was so, you know, beyond the pale, Wolf, and you know, so not worthy the kind of campaign that certainly Hillary wanted to run or that we as a staff wanted to run that I called David Plouffe, who was obviously managing Barack Obama’s campaign in ’07, to apologize and basically say this is not coming from us.”

Trump also brought up longtime Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal pushing birtherism to McClatchy, thereby tying Hillary to the conspiracy theory. However there is no direct proof of this, and even as McClatchy concedes, is ultimately a case of he-said-she-said which can’t be considered as strong evidence.

Trump said that “Blumenthal sent McClatchy — a highly respected reporter at McClatchy — to Kenya to find out about it. They were pressing it very hard.”

According to James Asher, an editor in McClatchy’s Washington bureau in 2008, Blumenthal suggested the news organization look into Obama’s roots, and Asher said he asked a Nairobi-based reporter to look into the tip. McClatchy last week reported that there is no direct proof that Blumenthal shared the birther rumor, though Blumenthal did share other ideas about Obama with Asher. Asher has said he recalls the conversation clearly, but has no record of it.

Blumenthal told Fox News earlier this month “This is false. Never happened, period,” adding: “Donald Trump cannot distract from the inescapable fact that he is the one who embraced and promoted the racist birther lie and bears the responsibility for it.”

(h/t Yahoo, DailyKos, McClatchy)


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