Donald Trump’s band of anti-establishment support initially came in 2011 when he claimed that President Obama wasn’t actually born in the United States and therefore ineligible to be the president. It’s those claims that have spring boarded Donald Trump to the Republican nomination and within touching distance of the presidency himself. However, Donald Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway has now claimed that such conspiracy theories started within the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2008.
According to Politico, Conway attempted to put rumors over Barack Obama’s nationality to bed, but in the process lambasted the Clinton campaign as the source of such rumors. Conway discussed the issue in an interview with Face the Nation, saying “This started with Hillary Clinton’s campaign, No. 1, No. 2, it was Donald Trump who put the issue to rest when he got President Obama to release his birth certificate years later. And, No. 3, he said that ‘President Obama was born in this country, period.'”
Trump’s campaign appears to be trying to put the issue behind them, with Donald Trump using a recent news conference to concede that President Obama is actually a natural born citizen. However, the story during the 2012 presidential campaign was very different, with high profile name Trump making spurious claims about Obama’s nationality.
In their attempt to leave the scandal behind, the Trump campaign now appears to be casting the Clinton campaign as the source of the Birther Movement. Conway, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and Donald Trump himself have all suggested that questions around Barack Obama’s nationality first came about during Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, which she initially lost to Barack Obama. However, there’s little evidence to support the theory.
However, according to CNN Politics, all evidence points towards the fact that the Birther Movement originated from Donald Trump and not Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign. In fact, President Obama released his short form birth certificate prior to the 2008 presidential election, with serious questions about his nationality only arising following Donald Trump’s aspersions. Whilst there is evidence that questions over Barack Obama’s nationality may have arisen prior to 2011, there’s nothing to suggest that the Clinton campaign was the source.
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Ahead of the 2012 presidential election, Donald Trump lead the campaign requesting that Barack Obama release his birth certificate. Whilst the issue largely seemed to disappear following Obama’s election for a second term, Donald Trump used the anti-establishment message he’d spread to lay the groundwork for his 2016 presidential campaign.
Hillary Clinton has consistently claimed that she believes President Obama was born in the United States. So why would Donald Trump attempt to pin the Birther Movement on her campaign? In order to win the presidency this November, Donald Trump needs to pick up the support of moderate voters, however, he’s struggling to do so. Many such moderates believe that Trump is racist, so by pinning the Birther Movement on the Clinton campaign, Trump can claim the former First Lady is actually the racist, whilst he puts the issue to bed.
Whilst the Birther claims were initially a smart campaign move by Donald Trump, that’s quickly changing. Recent polling suggests that 61 percent of Donald Trump’s own supporters don’t believe the claims made by Trump, with 80 percent of adults across the country now certain that Barack Obama is a natural citizen. It makes sense for Donald Trump to try and disassociate himself from the movement, especially whilst he’s trying to garner the support of more moderate voters ahead of November’s election.
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