Barack Obama’s birth certificate made public in 2011 was a fake that showed “nine points of forgery,” a vehemently anti-Obama sheriff declared this week, setting off a renewed round or birther conspiracies that had been dormant for the last five years.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio held a press conference this week to reveal the results of five years of investigation, saying publicly that Obama’s birth certificate had been forged. As the Associated Press noted, the press conference had some odd timing for Arpaio — he had just been voted out of office for the first time in 24 years, and is facing the possibility of jail on criminal contempt-of-court for defying a judge’s orders to stop a racially-based policing program.
During the press conference, Arpaio offered what he said was proof of the document being a fraud and complained that his questioning of Obama’s birth certificate wasn’t taken seriously in the past.
“We and anyone else who dared to question the document have been maligned, falsely labeled and grossly criticized,” Arpaio said.
The claims that Barack Obama was born outside the United States — which started as whispers traced back to Hillary Clinton supporters in the 2008 primary and continued through his first term as president — were laid to rest in 2011 when Obama released his full birth certificate. But some birthers, led largely by Arpaio and now President-elect Donald Trump, have continued to spread the conspiracy theory.
But even as Donald Trump finally backed off the claim — admitting begrudgingly during the 2016 campaign that Obama was born in the United States — Arpaio has held fast to his claims.
Arpaio added that he believes Congress should act on his theory that Barack Obama’s birth certificate is a fraud.
“Maybe some members of Congress will hold some hearings, open to the public, regarding this matter,” he said (via the New American). “If they can hold hearings … on underinflated footballs, why can’t [they] hold one on this?”
There are some who believe that Arpaio’s renewal of the Barack Obama could have another motive. Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo said he believes it is a publicity stunt.
“He was trying to throw meat to his base, and that’s exactly what he did,” Gallardo said. “He threw red meat.”
But Arpaio’s press conference has renewed activity among conspiracy theorists who still believe that Barack Obama has been lying about his birth certificate. Many conspiracy theory message boards shared a story from 2013 about the death of Loretty Fuddy, the Hawaii official who certified his birth certificate.
Fuddy died in a plane crash, while eight others on board the Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft survived.
As NBC News noted at the time, Fuddy was a central figure in the birther controversy.
“Fuddy hit the headlines two years ago when she approved a waiver request allowing Obama to access certified copies of his birth certificate, signed by the delivery doctor, Obama’s mother and the local registrar. His mother, then 18, signed her name (Stanley) Ann Dunham Obama.
“So-called ‘birthers’ opposed to Obama including real estate mogul Donald Trump had long questioned why Obama hadn’t ensured the long form was released.”
But even with the renewal of the Barack Obama birth certificate conspiracy theory, many point out that it doesn’t really matter even if Obama was born outside the United States. Because his mother was an American citizen, Obama would be a citizen by birth no matter where he was actually born. And with just a few weeks remaining in office, it’s extremely unlikely that any action would come of it.
[Featured Image by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Images]