“Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy,” Trump said at a press event at his new luxury hotel in Washington, D.C. “I finished it. You know what I mean. President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period.”
Trump’s claim is staggeringly false because he has long been the biggest “birther” in American politics. For the last five years, Trump has espoused birtherism in interviews and used his Twitter feed to stoke the theory that Obama was born in Africa instead of Hawaii.
In 2011, the White House released the president’s long-form birth certificate, prompting Trump to declare at a press conference that he was very proud of himself. But he didn’t quit birtherism, as his Twitter feed shows.
While Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign didn’t dabble in birtherism, some of her supporters at the time did circulate an email questioning Obama’s birthplace. And she and people affiliated with her campaign insinuated that Obama was either not very American or not very Christian, though they didn’t deny he was born in Hawaii.
Clinton advisor Mark Penn wrote a memo claiming Obama’s “roots to basic American values and culture are at best limited,” though it didn’t specifically question his birthplace. And Clinton herself infamously said in a 2008 interview that Obama isn’t a Muslim “as far as I know,” as though there might be something mysterious about Obama’s faith.
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.