Giuliani says Trump dropped birther theory

Carson: Trump should apologize for questioning Obama birth
Carson: Trump should apologize for questioning Obama birth

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  • Rudy Giuliani said Thursday that Donald Trump believes that the President is a US citizen
  • Trump raised questions about Obama's citizenship during his 2012 reelection campaign

(CNN)Rudy Giuliani said Thursday that Donald Trump does believe President Barack Obama was born in the United States, seeking to end criticism of the Republican presidential nominee for his ongoing refusal to put the issue to rest.

Appearing on MSNBC's "Hardball with Chris Matthews," the former New York City mayor was asked whether Trump still believes the incendiary claims about Obama's citizenship that, in part, fueled his entrance into politics. Giuliani spoke for Trump, saying he now accepts the legitimacy of Obama's presidency.
    "Donald Trump believes now that (Obama) was born in the United States," Giuliani said. "I believe it. He believes it. We all believe it. It took a long time to get out."
    Giuliani was pressed by the host on whether he had actually spoken to Trump about the issue.
    "As per Donald Trump," he told Matthews. "He has told me that he is proud of the fact that he finally got Obama to produce his birth certificate."
    Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, echoed Giuliani in an interview Friday on "New Day" on CNN. "He believes President Obama was born here," she said. "There's no question to me he was born in the United States, but he's not been a particularly effective president, and that's what this campaign is about."
    CNN has reached out to the Trump campaign for confirmation of Giuliani's comments.
    Giuliani also continued to argue that it was Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign -- and not Trump -- that had initiated questions about Obama's citizenship, though when he was asked for evidence of that claim, Giuliani demurred.
    "I believe (Trump) picked up on what Hillary Clinton's campaign said. He pushed Obama. Obama finally produced the birth certificate and it showed he was born in Hawaii. Therefore he's an American citizen."
    As both CNN and FactCheck.org have 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. The mainstreaming of conspiracy theories about Obama's birthplace was significantly driven by Trump himself, who eagerly embraced rumors in various media appearances throughout the 2012 election.
    The issue of Trump questioning Obama's citizenship was resurfaced this week as a result of an interview Trump did with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly on Tuesday. The Fox host had asked Trump if he thought his association with the "birther" movement, and the suggestion that the first black president may be illegitimate, contributed to his low poll numbers among black voters.
    "I don't know, I have no idea," Trump replied. "I just don't bother talking about it but I don't know. I guess with maybe some, I don't know why, I really don't know why. You're the first one that's brought that up in a while."