During the height of Donald Trump’s relentless birtherism in 2011, the reality TV star claimed he had personally sent investigators to Hawaii to uncover information about President Barack Obama’s birthplace and boasted that they couldn’t “believe what they’re finding.”
But there’s no proof he ever did that.
After five years of perpetuating racist lies about Obama’s birthplace, the Republican presidential nominee is finally conceding that the president was indeed born in Hawaii. But Trump still hasn’t acknowledged that he fueled the birther movement, nor has he disclosed what “evidence” he believes his investigators allegedly found.
Trump made the claim about the detectives in April 2011, during an interview with NBC’s “Today” show.
“I have people that actually have been studying it and they cannot believe what they’re finding,” Trump told host Meredith Vieira.
“You have people now down there searching, I mean in Hawaii?” she asked.
“Absolutely,” he replied. “And they cannot believe what they’re finding.”
When ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos asked him about the investigators later that month, Trump refused to say what they had found.
“It’s none of your business right now,” he said. “We are going to see what happens.”
CNN’s Anderson Cooper also confronted him about the investigation that month.
“Can you name even one person who your investigators have talked to?” Cooper asked.
“I don’t want to do that right now,” Trump said. “It’s not appropriate right now.”
Tana Goertz, Trump’s Iowa campaign chair and a former “Apprentice” contestant, said last year that the candidate would reveal his findings “when the time is right.”
“He’s never told you about it? You’ve never asked him about it? It was unbelievable and you weren’t curious about it?” asked MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell.
“Never was curious once, because he’s not a liar. If they found something, it will come out. The time isn’t right, and guess what? Mr. Trump does what he wants and he’s not going to do it on our time,” she replied.
The time apparently still isn’t right. More than five years after he first made the claim, Trump hasn’t provided any proof that his probe actually happened.
Trump press secretary Hope Hicks did not reply to an email asking for specific information on who the investigators were, when they went to Hawaii and what they found.
While Trump and his campaign is mum on the alleged investigation, at least one Hawaiian official has disputed the claim, The New York Times reported in July:
Dr. Alvin Onaka, the Hawaii state registrar who handled queries about Mr. Obama, said recently through a spokeswoman that he had no evidence or recollection of Mr. Trump or any of his representatives ever requesting the records from the Hawaii State Department of Health.