Donald Trump has done a lot of things that a lot of people don’t agree with. But one of the chief reasons that former First Lady Michelle Obama recently named — the birther scandal — didn’t start with Trump.
The current President undoubtedly became the most famous face for the whole “birther” thing, the idea that President Barack Obama was not born in America. But those rumors didn’t start with Donald Trump, and as a point of fact, he actually came to the birther party kind of late.
Michelle Obama recently said that she will never forgive Donald Trump for the birther scandal, a topic that is covered in her new memoir, as reported by the Inquisitr.
“Donald Trump, with his loud and reckless innuendos, was putting my family’s safety at risk,” the memoir says. “And for this I’d never forgive him.”
That’s going to make things uncomfortable in a few years when both Donald Trump and Barack Obama are “formers,” which means past Presidents. The “formers” often make appearances at various events, and in the past two years, Michelle Obama has developed a friendship with former President George W. Bush as a result.
And more to the point, Michelle Obama is holding a grudge against the wrong man. While Donald Trump definitely became the loudest mouthpiece for birtherism and questioned Barack Obama’s birth more often and more aggressively than anyone else, he simply jumped on a bandwagon.
Questions about Obama’s birth began well before Donald Trump had any idea who he is.
Donald Trump himself has said that the birther scandal began with the Clinton campaign. This is also incorrect, according to Politico.
In fact, Obama’s birth was used as a political attack as early as 2004. This is when Barack Obama was running for U.S. Senate from the state of Illinois. His opponent, Andy Martin, portrayed Obama as a Muslim.
This snowballed into attacks against Obama’s birth, and it all happened well before he was a Presidential candidate.
But the birther conspiracy didn’t come to national attention until 2008. And it didn’t happen with Hillary Clinton, who ran against Obama in the Democratic primary. It happened during the Presidential race, in which Obama ran against then Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin, according to the Huffington Post.
The McCain-Palin campaign exaggerated the relationship between Obama and William Ayers, a domestic terrorist during the Vietnam War. Ayers was a member of the Weather Underground, who carried out a series of bombings during Obama’s youth.
Donald Trump simply picked up the threads of other conspiracy theorists, something he’s done before and will likely do again. Trump really got into the birther scandal around 2011, years after the first wave of it had already died down. So not only did he not start the rumors, he didn’t even really get into them until everyone else was already over it.
At Sen. John McCain’s funeral, Barack Obama spoke beautifully about this former war hero. And John McCain deserved all the kind words and praise that he received.
But if Donald Trump latched onto the birther movement and made it his own, it’s only because the McCain-Palin campaign dusted off this old conspiracy theory in the first place.