Breaking from his running mate Donald Trump on Wednesday, Mike Pence stated correctly that President Barack Obama was born in the United States. The GOP vice presidential nominee noted that while he has disagreements with Obama, they do not involve the president’s birthplace.
“I believe Barack Obama was born in Hawaii,” the Indiana governor told reporters on his campaign plane. “I accept his birthplace. I just don’t know where he’s coming from on foreign policy and on economics and on Obamacare.”
Trump jumped into the birther conspiracy fracas in 2011, when he famously questioned whether Obama was born in the U.S. A few weeks later, the president released his long-form birth certificate ― and Trump took credit.
Now, eight years after the birthers began searching and failing to find their proof, Obama’s birthplace is somehow still an issue that requires a response from a major party’s nominees.
Trump’s birther support is gaining renewed attention as he tries to reach out to black voters. The conspiracy theory is rooted in a racist effort to question the legitimacy of the nation’s first African-American president. On Tuesday, Trump surrogate Ben Carson told CNN that he thinks it “would be a good idea” for the GOP presidential nominee to apologize for his part in the accusations.
Trump, meanwhile, appears to believe that Obama’s birthplace remains a matter of dispute. The real estate mogul has refused to denounce the birther movement or admit that he was wrong. On the campaign trail, he has repeatedly dodged questions, claiming that “I don’t talk about it.”
On Wednesday, when Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly asked Trump if the controversy hurt him among black voters, Trump shrugged off the suggestion.
“I don’t know. I have no idea,” he said. “I don’t even talk about it anymore, Bill.”
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.