Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who spent five years questioning whether President Barack Obama was born in the United States, refuses to let go of the racist conspiracy theory and said Thursday he’s “very proud” of his role in it.
“I was the one that got him to put up his birth certificate,” Trump told New Hampshire political reporter Paul Steinhauser while campaigning in the state. “Hillary Clinton was unable to get there, and I will tell you she tried. And you look at her campaign, and everybody knows it happened. I would say that pretty much everybody agreed with me that she tried and she was unable to do it and I tried and I was able to do it. So I’m very proud of it.”
Trump has repeatedly pointed to his role in the false conspiracy theory against the first U.S. black president as a badge of honor. But even when Obama released his long form birth certificate in 2011, Trump persisted in pressing the issue.
It was only this month that Trump finally acknowledged that Obama was, in fact, a U.S. citizen. Then Trump walked back his statement, claiming he made the remarks only because he wanted to “get on with the campaign.”
Since then, Trump has continued to boast about his birtherism and has found new ways to keep it in the spotlight. In the same press conference in which he attempted to disavow birtherism, he launched a new lie, accusing Hillary Clinton’s campaign of spreading the birther theory in 2008. While some Clinton supporters did speculate about Obama’s birthplace, her campaign never did.
During Monday night’s presidential debate, when moderator Lester Holt asked the GOP nominee if he had anything to say to people of color, seemingly giving him an opportunity to apologize for stoking the racist conspiracy theory, Trump refused and instead bragged that it was he who convinced Obama to release his birth certificate.
“I say nothing,” he said. “I say nothing because I was able to get him to produce it.”