Christie Falsely Claims Trump Hadn’t Talked ‘Birther’ for Years
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Sunday Donald Trump’s questioning of President Barack Obama’s birthplace was “done,” arguing falsely that Trump hasn’t talked about it for years and had put to rest any remaining questions Friday.
“The birther issue is a done issue. I’ve said it’s a done issue for a long time, and Donald Trump has said it’s a done issue now,” Christie, a top Trump supporter and the chairman of his transition team, told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
Though Trump had been asked whether he now believes Obama was born in the United States as recently as 2016 and hadn’t affirmed that position, Christie refuted Tapper’s questioning saying: “It’s just not true that he kept it up for five years.”
Tapper: “Sure he did.”
Christie: “It’s simply not true.”
Tapper: “It is true.”
Christie: “No, Jake. It wasn’t like he was talking about it on a regular basis … And when the issue was raised, he made very clear the other day what his position is.”
But of course, Trump for years elevated false claims that Obama wasn’t born in the United States, raising it repeatedly in interviews and on Twitter. In 2011, Obama released a copy of his birth certificate to put to rest what many considered fringe conspiracy theories aimed at undermining his legitimacy as president.
Trump had been asked whether he now believes Obama was born in the United States as recently as last week and hadn’t affirmed that position, until Friday.
Christie also said it was “an issue that Mrs. Clinton also injected” into the 2008 Democratic primary against Obama, which is false.
Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, stuck to a similar line in an interview with ABC’s Martha Raddatz on “This Week.”
“This is not what the American people are talking about. Donald Trump put this issue to an end yesterday in Washington, D.C.,” Pence said.
He also declared birtherism “over” and denied Trump has any responsibility it. “Throughout this campaign, he hasn’t been talking about it,” Pence said.
Tim Kaine, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, blamed Trump for “an incredibly painful five-year chapter.”
“When Donald Trump says the first African-American president is not a citizen, that is so painful to so many people who still have deep feelings about that dark chapter in American life,” Kaine told Tapper later on “State of the Union.”
“And he either believed what he said for five years, which showed that he’s either incredibly gullible or conspiratorial, or he didn’t believe it, in which case he was just trying to prey upon people’s darkest emotion,” he said.
And Kaine deflected questions about whether Hillary Clinton’s friend Sidney Blumenthal pushed birtherism quietly on the 2008 campaign trail.
“Sidney Blumenthal has categorically denied that, but Sidney’s not running for president. Let’s talk about Donald Trump,” Kaine said.
Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway deflected questions about Trump’s history of birtherism Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Host John Dickerson asked: “Donald Trump advocated something for five years that was a lie. Why did he do that?”
Conway said: “Well, you’re going to have to ask him. But, again, I think that this is a sideshow now that the media seem obsessed with, John, respectfully. And, again, he put everything out on the table on Friday. Those are his words. He does things on his terms, on his time line.”
The Wall Street Journal, of all places, compiled a list of every birther statement by Donald Trump proving that he did indeed keep up the false birther conspiracy theory for five years, even after President Obama released his long form birth certificate. However they missed a few so we added some to their list.
February 2011: In a speech at a conservative conference, Mr. Trump said: “Our current president came out of nowhere. Came out of nowhere. In fact, I’ll go a step further: the people that went to school with him, they never saw him, they don’t know who he is. It’s crazy.” [Politifact]
March 2011: Mr. Trump went on “The View” when he was first considering a run for the presidency and was asked if he believed Mr. Obama was born in the U.S. He responded: “Why doesn’t he show his birth certificate? And you know what? I wish he would… Nobody from those early years remembers him… There’s something on that birth certificate he doesn’t like.” [Mediaite]
April 7, 2011: Mr. Trump said: “Right now, I have some real doubts…His grandmother in Kenya said he was born in Kenya and she was there and witnessed the birth. He doesn’t have a birth certificate or he hasn’t shown it.” [“Today”]
April 19, 2011: “He doesn’t have a birth certificate or he hasn’t provided it. He’s given a certificate of live birth. It’s a much different instrument.” Mr. Trump also said he sent investigators to Hawaii, though he gave no evidence of that. [“ABC News”]
April 27, 2011: The White House publishes the long form of Mr. Obama’s birth certificate.
May 1, 2011: Mr. Obama opened the White House Correspondents’ Dinner with a “birth video” — taken from the start of the Disney movie”The Lion King.” He quickly turned to jokes at Mr. Trump’s expense. “Donald Trump is here tonight! Now, I know that he’s taken some flak lately, but no one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than the Donald. And that’s because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter –- like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?” [Transcript]
May 29, 2012: Mr. Trump told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that “a lot of people don’t agree with that birth certificate. A lot of people do not think it’s authentic.” [Video/Transcript, CNN’s “The Situation Room”]
July 10, 2012:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2012
Aug. 22, 2012:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 22, 2012
Aug. 29, 2012:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 29, 2012
Oct. 11, 2012:
Why does Barack Obama's ring have an arabic inscription? http://t.co/upa00265 Who is this guy?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2012
Oct. 24, 2012: Mr. Trump offered to pay $5 million to Mr. Obama’s charity of choice if the president releases his college and passport records. [YouTube video]
Oct. 31, 2012:
There is nothing I would be happier to do than to donate the $5M to a charity of Obama’s choice, once he releases all of his records.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2012
August 2013: Mr. Trump is asked about his “birther” comments. “I think that resonated with a lot of people.” Did he still question if Mr. Obama was born in the U.S.? “I have no idea. I don’t know. Was there a birth certificate? You tell me. … Nobody knows.” [ABC’s “This Week”]
Dec. 12, 2013:
How amazing, the State Health Director who verified copies of Obama’s “birth certificate” died in plane crash today. All others lived
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2013
Feb. 27, 2015: At the Conservative Political Action Conference, Mr. Trump questioned whether Mr. Obama’s long-form birth certificate that’s posted on the White House’s website is real. He also said Hillary Clinton and Sen. John McCain also wanted to see his birth certificate but the White House only posted one in response to Mr. Trump. [Video (24:37)]
July 2015: When asked by CNN’s Anderson Cooper if he accepts that Mr. Obama was born in the U.S., Mr. Trump said, “I really don’t know. I don’t know why he wouldn’t release his records, but you know, honestly, I don’t want to get into it.”[CNN]
September 2015: On “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” Mr. Colbert asked Mr. Trump, “Barack Obama, born in the United States?” Mr. Trump said: “I don’t talk about it any more.” [Video, “The Late Show”]
Sept. 17, 2015: At a town-hall event, Mr. Trump didn’t denounce a comment from an attendee who said Mr. Obama isn’t an American. The man said,”We have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims. We know our current president is one. You know he’s not even an American.” Mr. Trump interrupted, saying, “We need this question.” [Video (16:40)]
Jan. 26, 2016: In an interview, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer discusses whether Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican presidential candidate, is a natural-born citizen. Mr. Blitzer said: “Your critics are saying you’re doing to Ted Cruz what you tried to do to President Obama, where he was born, his birth certificate…” Mr. Trump said: “Who knows about Obama, who cares right now.” [Video, CNN’s “The Situation Room”]
Sept. 15, 2016: In an interview published by the Washington Post, Mr. Trump declined to say whether he believed the president was born in Hawaii. “I’ll answer that question at the right time,” he said. “I just don’t want to answer it yet.” Later in the day, the Trump campaign put out a statement, referring back to 2011: “Having successfully obtained President Obama’s birth certificate when others could not, Mr. Trump believes that President Obama was born in the United States.” [WSJ]
Sept. 16, 2016: Mr. Trump briefly addresses the issue at an event at his new hotel in Washington. “President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period. Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again.” In his remarks, he also falsely blamed Hillary Clinton for the birther controversy. [WSJ]