Trump himself has not publicly said he believes Obama was born in the US
But the Republican nominee used to have a lot to say about it
Donald Trump’s birther days are finally over.
“President Barack Obama was born in the United States,” Trump said brusquely at the end of a campaign event in his new Washington hotel. “Period.”
About 12 hours earlier, senior adviser Jason Miller said in a statement Trump had compelled Obama to release his birth certificate in 2011 to dispel questions about the fact he was born in Hawaii in 1961.
“Mr. Trump believes that President Obama was born in the United States,” the campaign conceded, a gesture meant to end questions – which have bubbled up again in the past weeks – surrounding Republican nominee’s role in advancing a fiction meant to delegitimize the first African-American commander in chief.
Trump himself, however, had not until Friday publicly said he believes Obama was born in the US. And asked recently about his role in promoting the racially charged smear, Trump went uncharacteristically mum.
“I don’t talk about it because if I talk about that, your whole thing will be about that,” he told reporters last week. “So I don’t talk about it.”
Here’s a laundry list of birther declarations Trump made before he tried to put the controversy to rest:
1. “Why doesn’t he show his birth certificate? There’s something on that birth certificate that he doesn’t like.”
- March 23, 2011, on “The View”
2. “He’s spent millions of dollars trying to get away from this issue. Millions of dollars in legal fees trying to get away from this issue. And I’ll tell you what, I brought it up, just routinely, and all of a sudden a lot facts are emerging and I’m starting to wonder myself whether or not he was born in this country.”
- March 28, 2011, on Fox News
3. “He doesn’t have a birth certificate, or if he does, there’s something on that certificate that is very bad for him. Now, somebody told me – and I have no idea if this is bad for him or not, but perhaps it would be – that where it says ‘religion,’ it might have ‘Muslim.’ And if you’re a Muslim, you don’t change your religion, by the way.”
- March 30, 2011, on The Laura Ingraham Show
4. “I have people that have been studying [Obama’s birth certificate] and they cannot believe what they’re finding … I would like to have him show his birth certificate, and can I be honest with you, I hope he can. Because if he can’t, if he can’t, if he wasn’t born in this country, which is a real possibility … then he has pulled one of the great cons in the history of politics.”
- April 7, 2011, on NBC’s “Today” show
5. “His grandmother in Kenya said, ‘Oh, no, he was born in Kenya and I was there and I witnessed the birth.’ She’s on tape. I think that tape’s going to be produced fairly soon. Somebody is coming out with a book in two weeks, it will be very interesting.”
- April 7, 2011, on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”
Note: On April 27, 2011, President Obama made public his long form birth certificate. The Trump campaign in his statement portrayed this as the event that resolved the situation.
“Having successfully obtained President Obama’s birth certificate when others could not, Mr. Trump believes that President Obama was born in the United States,” Miller said.
But as the following comments demonstrate, whatever he thought personally, Trump continued to gin up birther issues for years after.
6. “He didn’t know he was running for president, so he told the truth. The literary agent wrote down what he said … He said he was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia … Now they’re saying it was a mistake. Just like his Kenyan grandmother said he was born in Kenya, and she pointed down the road to the hospital, and after people started screaming at her, she said, ‘Oh, I mean Hawaii.’ Give me a break.”
- May 24, 2012, interview with The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove, responding to an erroneous report about Obama
7. “A lot of people do not think it was an authentic certificate. … Many people do not think it was authentic. His mother was not in the hospital. There are many other things that came out. And frankly if you would report it accurately I think you’d probably get better ratings than you’re getting.”
- May 29, 2012, to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer
8. “An ‘extremely credible source’ has called my office and told me that @BarackObama’s birth certificate is a fraud.”
9. “Was it a birth certificate? You tell me. Some people say that was not his birth certificate. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. I’m saying I don’t know. Nobody knows.”
- August 2013, to ABC News
10. “How amazing, the State Health Director who verified copies of Obama’s ‘birth certificate’ died in plane crash today. All others lived.”
- December 12, 2013, in tweet about the death of Loretta Fuddy.
11. “Well, I don’t know – did he do it? … Well, a lot of people don’t agree with you and a lot of people feel it wasn’t a proper certificate.”
-May 2014, in an interview with TV3’s Colette Fitzpatrick in Ireland, Trump first contested whether Obama had released his birth certificate, then questioned whether its legitimacy.
12. “There are three things that could happen. And one of them did happen. He was perhaps born in Kenya. Very simple, OK? He was perhaps born in this country. But said he was born in Kenya because if you say you were born in Kenya, you got aid and you got into colleges. People were doing that. So perhaps he was born in this country, and that has a very big chance. Or, you know, who knows?”
- May 27, 2014, in remarks at the National Press Club
13. “Who knows about Obama? … Who knows, who knows? Who cares right now?… I have my own theory on Obama. Someday I will write a book, I will do another book, and it will do very successfully.”
- January 6, 2016, in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
14. “I’ll answer that question at the right time. I just don’t want to answer it yet … I don’t talk about it anymore. The reason I don’t is because then everyone is going to be talking about it as opposed to jobs, the military, the vets, security.”
- September 15, 2016, in an interview with The Washington Post.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the Trump campaign’s statement.