Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump finally admitted Sept. 16 that President Barack Obama was born in the U.S. after five years of embracing a fringe conspiracy "birther" theory (video below).
Trump stated during a press conference: "[Democratic presidential nominee] Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it. I finished it. You know what I mean. President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period. Now, we all want to get back to making America strong and great again," notes The Atlantic.
As recently as Sept. 14, Trump refused to give up the "birther" conspiracy when he was asked about it by The Washington Post: "I’ll answer that question at the right time. I just don’t want to answer it yet."
Trump's senior communications advisor, Jason Miller, said in a statement Sept. 15:
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. As usual, however, Hillary Clinton was too weak to get an answer. Even the MSNBC show Morning Joe admits that it was Clinton’s henchmen who first raised this issue, not Donald J. Trump.
In 2011, Mr. Trump was finally able to bring this ugly incident to its conclusion by successfully compelling President Obama to release his birth certificate. Mr. Trump did a great service to the President and the country by bringing closure to the issue that Hillary Clinton and her team first raised. Inarguably, Donald J. Trump is a closer. Having successfully obtained President Obama’s birth certificate when others could not, Mr. Trump believes that President Obama was born in the United States.
However, Trump never "obtained" Obama's birth certificates -- Obama voluntarily presented both his short form and long form birth certificates, the validity of which was questioned by Trump.
The Atlantic notes that Clinton did not start the birth certificate "birther" controversy, but Clinton campaign strategist Mark Penn reportedly suggested during Clinton's 2008 campaign to talk about Obama’s "lack of American roots." The Atlantic adds that the Clinton campaign didn't raise questions about whether or not Obama was eligible to be president.
Think Progress reports that Trump consistently kept his "birther" statements going from 2011 to 2016 when he was questioned by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in January about Obama's citizenship: "His mother was a U.S. citizen-born in Kansas. Was he a natural-born citizen?"
Trump replied: "Who knows? Who knows? Who cares right now? We’re talking about something else, OK. I mean, I have my own theory on Obama. Someday I’ll write a book. I’ll do another book, and it will do very successfully."