The issue was how long Donald Trump continued to ask whether President Barack Obama was born in the United States even after Obama produced his long-form birth certificate birth certificate in 2011. That document showed Obama was born in Hawaii. In the interview, Christie stretched the truth beyond recognition two times within 30 seconds, a kind of double Salchow of prevarication.
First, his assertion that the so-called birther issue was first raised by the Clinton campaign. "It was a contentious issue," Christie told Tapper, "and, by the way, an issue that Patti Solis Doyle of the Clinton campaign in 2008 has recently admitted that it was an issue that Mrs. Clinton also injected into her campaign in 2008 in a very quiet, but direct way against then-Sen. Obama."
Really? Solis Doyle said that? Actually, here's what she said to CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
"The campaign, nor Hillary, did not start the birther movement. Period. End of the story. There was a volunteer coordinator, I believe in late 2007, I think in December. One of our volunteer coordinators in one of the counties in Iowa, I don't recall whether they were an actual a paid staffer, but they did forward an email that promoted the conspiracy."
"The birther conspiracy?" Blitzer asked.
"Yeah. Hillary made the decision immediately to let that person go. We let that person go, and it was so, you know, beyond the pale, Wolf, and you know, so not worthy the kind of campaign that certainly Hillary wanted to run or that we as a staff wanted to run that I called David Plouffe, who was obviously managing Barack Obama's campaign in '07, to apologize and basically say this is not coming from us."
Funny, Solis Doyle's admission sure sounds an awful lot like a denial and there is no evidence that then-Sen. Clinton interjected this into her campaign in any way.
Shortly thereafter, Christie took issue with Tapper for saying that Trump stayed on the birther issue for five years after Obama released his long-form birth certificate in April 2011.
"It's just not true that he kept it up for five years," Christie said to Tapper. "It's simply not true. It wasn't like he was talking about it on a regular basis until then, and when the issue was raised he made very clear the other day what his position is."
Here is what CNN reported on what Trump said and did after the long-form birth certificate was released:
-- "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
-- "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
-- An 'extremely credible source' has called my office and told me that @BarackObama's birth certificate is a fraud.
Follow Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump
4:23 PM - 6 Aug 2012 9,792 9,792 Retweets 6,844 6,844 likes -- a tweet more than a year after Obama released his long-form birth certificate.
-- "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
- "How amazing, the State Health Director who verified copies of Obama's 'birth certificate' died in plane crash today. All others lived."
Follow Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump
4:32 PM - 12 Dec 2013 5,796 5,796 Retweets 3,709 3,709 likes -- in a tweet about the death of Loretta Fuddy.
-- "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 its legitimacy.
-- "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
-- "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
Sure sounds like Christie is wrong when he says that Trump is not keeping the issue alive. Don't ya think?