"I believe Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, I accept his birthplace," Pence said
Trump was perhaps the highest-profile "birther" back in 2011
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said Wednesday he believes President Barack Obama was born in the US, drawing a clear distinction with his running mate, Donald Trump, who has declined to say the same.
The Republican vice presidential nominee also declined to weigh in on whether the businessman should apologize for suggesting Obama was not born in the US.
“I believe Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, I accept his birthplace. I just don’t know where he’s coming from on foreign policy and on economics and on Obamacare,” Pence told reporters aboard his campaign plane just after it touched down here.
Pence was asked four times about calls for an apology from Trump, but declined to address the issue, saying: “I think Donald Trump’s record both as a businessman and as a political leader and as a patron in supporting minority efforts, and particularly supporting the advancement of the African-American community, really speaks for itself.”
Pence has often drawn parallels between his favorite president, Ronald Reagan, and the businessman. When asked if the so-called “birther” comments have hurt Trump’s ability to attract African-American voters, Pence said the candidate is making his case to Americans of all races.
“Donald Trump, in his candor and in his vision, is expanding the Republican Party as we speak,” Pence said when asked about Reagan’s work to expand the party.
“I think it’s very clear that Republicans, Independents and Democrats are responding to his call to make America great again and I’m very confident that as we continue to make it clear that the vision for America is for every American, regardless of race or creed or color, we’re going to continue to see that,” Pence said.
Trump was perhaps the highest-profile “birther” back in 2011, when he repeatedly raised questions about Obama’s birthplace. The President eventually produced his birth certificate, largely putting the controversy to rest.
Speaking to reporters Monday, Trump said he no longer discusses the matter as it distracts from more pressing issues.
Ben Carson, a top Trump surrogate, told CNN’s Jake Tapper Tuesday that he believed Trump’s appeal among black voters would be improved if he apologized for his role in the controversy.
“I think that would be a good idea, absolutely,” Carson told Tapper.
Pence is in California to attend fundraisers as well as make a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library outside Los Angeles on Thursday.
CNN’s Ashley Killough contributed to this report.