Over the past week or so, Trump surrogates and staffers have claimed that Donald Trump has renounced his birtherism. In an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, Rudy Giuliani claimed Trump started believing President Obama was born in the United States three years ago. Campaign manager Kellyanne Conway told CNN that Obama now believes POTUS is a natural born citizen. Jack Kingston made the odd claim that Trump stopped being a birther because he stopped talking about it.
Despite his loyal sycophants doing his bidding for him, Trump decided to piss all over their faces during an interview with the Washington Post’s Robert Costa. When asked about his views on President Obama’s birthplace, Trump said he wouldn’t answer the question until the time is right. He also used his well-worn excuse of not talking about it anymore.
“I’ll answer that question at the right time,” Trump said. “I just don’t want to answer it yet.”
When asked whether his campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, was accurate when she said recently that he now believes Obama was born in this country, Trump responded: “It’s okay. She’s allowed to speak what she thinks. I want to focus on jobs. I want to focus on other things.”
He added: “I don’t talk about it anymore. The reason I don’t is because then everyone is going to be talking about it as opposed to jobs, the military, the vets, security.”
Now, the leading theory immediately after the WaPo article was published Thursday night is that Trump will disavow his birtherism at the first presidential debate and that is what he means by “right time.” This is a nice theory, honestly, and I can see this happening. It would be a dramatic moment — something Trump loves — and will disrupt the debate, potentially leading to Clinton and the moderator getting flustered.
However, I’m not buying it. Trump can read polls and he sees that the majority of his supporters believe Obama is a foreign-born Muslim usurper. The only reason he was a viable force entering this presidential race last year was due to his dalliance with the birther movement the previous election season. He already had built-in support from the racist faction of the electorate.
Beyond the difficulty in turning his back on his base, he’d also have to admit he was wrong — absolutely wrong. This is something he seems to be unable to do — ever. Never apologize. That is his credo. For him to apologize to President Obama, of all people, would be inconceivable. He cannot process it.
And even if he were to somehow renounce his birtherism, if he could choke it back and say “I’m sorry” to Obama, how does he go about walking it back? Is there even a way he can do that where it would be semi-believable? No, there isn’t.
Trump is going to continue to play this coy game as long as he can, just like he is with his tax returns and everything else that he won’t answer for. He only has 54 days left. We’ll get nothing from him.
UPDATE: Shortly after publication, Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller released the following statement saying Donald Trump believes Obama was born in US. (It also proclaimed Trump a hero for forcing Obama to release his birth certificate and falsely claimed Hillary Clinton was responsible for birtherism.) This came directly from Miller and didn’t actually quote Trump. This changes nothing.
“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.
Mr. Trump is now totally focused on bringing jobs back to America, defeating radical Islamic terrorism, taking care of our veterans, introducing school choice opportunities and rebuilding and making our inner cities safe again.” – Jason Miller, Senior Communications Advisor