Senior adviser: Trump addressing birther issue is 'up to him'

Cuomo, Trump adviser in fiery exchange
Cuomo, Trump adviser in fiery exchange


    Cuomo, Trump adviser in fiery exchange


Cuomo, Trump adviser in fiery exchange 03:34

Story highlights

  • Donald Trump's campaign released a statement Thursday saying Barack Obama was born in the US
  • Campaign senior adviser Boris Epshteyn told CNN Friday that it's up to Trump if he wants to talk about it himself

(CNN)Any decision by Donald Trump to publicly say whether he believes President Barack Obama was born in the US is only up to him, campaign senior adviser Boris Epshteyn said Friday in a heated exchange with CNN's Chris Cuomo.

"Since the statement (issued Thursday night), he has not been asked the question." Epshteyn said on "New Day."
Cuomo followed up, "Are you advising him to say that the birther stuff is bunk, don't believe it?"
    "That's his decision. He should do what's best for himself and the American people," Epshteyn said.
    "Do you believe this is going to help you, not answering the question?" Cuomo asked.
    Epshteyn responded by blaming the media for focusing too intensely on the issue.
    "What's not going to help me is the media and the left driving this wedge issue and dividing Americans. We're uniting Americans."
    "I'm dividing America?" Cuomo asked. "By your candidate refusing to answer an issue which is central to whether or not he thinks the president is legitimate?"
    "Yes you are," Ephsteyn answered.
    The Trump campaign released a statement from spokesman Jason Miller on Thursday evening saying the President was both in the United States, but Trump has not yet said it in his own words. Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961.
    Whether Trump says anything himself could change Friday. People around the candidate are pushing him to say in his own words that Obama was born in the US, a source familiar with the situation told CNN's Dana Bash. The expectation is that Trump will likely do so Friday.