At a press conference on Friday, Trump lied and said Clinton had started the movement, which questions whether President Barack Obama was born in the United States. (The president was born in Hawaii, and released his birth certificate in April 2011 to end any doubt about his birthplace.)
“I finished it,” Trump said of birtherism.
Many have accused Clinton and her 2008 presidential campaign of starting the movement, but there is no evidence that anyone associated with her campaign ever pushed the theory.
Clinton’s campaign responded to Trump’s comments by sending an email to reporters with a list of stories debunking claims that she had anything to do with birtherism.
Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, also released a statement on Trump’s remarks.
“Trump’s actions today were disgraceful,” he said. “After five years of pushing a racist conspiracy theory into the mainstream, it was appalling to watch Trump appoint himself the judge of whether the President of the United States is American. This sickening display shows more than ever why Donald Trump is totally unfit to be president.”
In a series of tweets, Clinton said Trump deserved the blame for progressing the birther theory.
Trump has repeatedly questioned Obama’s birthplace, and therefore his eligibility to hold the office of president. Although his campaign said he had moved beyond the issue after years of publicly doubting the president, Trump had not said so himself until Friday.
Read the full text of Clinton’s email below:
CNN: “There’s No Proof Clinton Had Anything To Do With The Claims That Obama Wasn’t Born In The United States And Thus Was Ineligible To Be President.” “As part of a partnership with FactCheck.org, CNN examines the lack of evidence to Donald Trump’s claim that Hillary Clinton started the ‘birther’ movement against Barack Obama in 2008. As FactCheck.org reported before, there’s no proof Clinton had anything to do with the claims that Obama wasn’t born in the United States and thus was ineligible to be president.” [CNN, 5/6/16]
Factcheck.Org: “There’s No Evidence That Clinton Or Her Campaign Had Anything To Do With Bogus Claims That Obama Wasn’t Born In The United States And Thus Was Ineligible To Be President.” “Donald Trump again has repeated the false claim that Hillary Clinton ‘started’ the so-called ‘birther’ movement against Barack Obama in 2008. As we wrote last year, there’s no evidence that Clinton or her campaign had anything to do with bogus claims that Obama wasn’t born in the United States and thus was ineligible to be president.” [Factcheck.org, 5/5/16]
Politifact Found “There Is No Record That Clinton Or Anyone Within Her Campaign Ever Advanced The Charge That Obama Was Not Born In The United States.” “There is no record that Clinton herself or anyone within her campaign ever advanced the charge that Obama was not born in the United States. A review by our fellow fact-checkers at Factcheck.org reported that no journalist who investigated this ever found a connection to anyone in the Clinton organization.” [Politifact,9/23/15]
Politifact Rated Trump’s Statement That Clinton Started The Birther Movement As False. “Trump said that Clinton started the birther movement and ‘was all in.’ It’s an interesting bit of history that the birther movement appears to have begun with Democrats supporting Clinton and opposing Obama. But Trump, and others who have made this claim, neglect to mention that there is no direct tie to Clinton or her 2008 campaign. The story appears to have started with supporters of Clinton, an important distinction. Trump goes on to completely distort the chain of events by claiming Clinton ‘was all in’ on the birther movement. Most of the talk started after Clinton suspended her presidential campaign. And the only thing she officially has ever done is deny any accusation of starting a whisper campaign. We rate this claim False.” [Politifact, 9/23/15]
HEADLINE: “Republicans Are Blaming Hillary Clinton For The ‘Birther’ Movement. That’s Wishful Thinking.”[Washington Post, 9/23/15]
David Weigel Said That The Rumor That Clinton Started The Birther Movement In 2008 Is “Not True.”CHRIS HAYES: “Okay. The Ted Cruz claim, the Trump claim, Hillary’s the original birther, she started it, that’s not true, is it? DAVID WEIGEL: “It’s not true, although it has taken up a lot of coinage on the right recently.” [All In, MSNBC, 9/23/15]
Washington Post: “The Allegation Clinton Or Even Her Campaign Started This Just Isn’t Founded.” “Trump isn’t only going to (maybe) renounce birtherism, you see; he’s going to open up a whole new can of worms around the issue by trying to tie it to Clinton. He’s going to breathe all kinds of life into the story by not truly taking responsibility for his lengthy effort to question the legitimacy of the president of the United States, and he’s going to do it with a specious charge. The allegation Clinton or even her campaign started this just isn’t founded.” [Washington Post, 9/16/16]
Washington Post: “There Is Nothing She Ever Said Along Those Lines.” “What’s more, Trump suggested Friday morning that he’s not just going to tie Clinton’s campaign to this, but Clinton herself, which is even more clearly counter to the facts. There’s no proof that either of them is true, mind you, but all of Clinton’s comments are recorded history, and there is nothing she ever said along those lines.” [Washington Post, 9/16/16]
Vox: “There’s No Evidence That Hillary Clinton Or Her 2008 Campaign Had Anything To Do With The Birther Theory — None.” “There’s no evidence that Hillary Clinton or her 2008 campaign had anything to do with the birther theory — none. Nonpartisan fact-checkers have repeatedly debunked this claim, as you can see at Politifact, Factcheck, CNN, and the Washington Post.” [Vox, 9/16/16]
NBC News: “It Isn’t True To Say Hillary Clinton Or Her ’08 Campaign Started The Birther Movement.” “It isn’t true to say Hillary Clinton or her ’08 campaign started the Birther movement: The other part of the Trump campaign statement from last night ― in fact, it was its beginning ― was pinning the Birther story on Hillary Clinton. “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.” But that is untrue.” [NBC News, 9/16/16]
NBC News: “Clinton Or Her Campaign NEVER Said/Suggested/Insinuated That Obama Wasn’t Born In The United States.” “While SUPPORTERS of Clinton stirred this conspiracy on the Internet, Clinton or her campaign NEVER said/suggested/insinuated that Obama wasn’t born in the United States. As the Washington Post wrote last year, “Clinton’s campaign, one of the most thoroughly dissected in modern history, never raised questions about the future president’s citizenship.” [NBC News, 9/16/16]
This article has been updated with responses from Robby Mook and Hillary Clinton.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.