To call the campaign of Donald Trump chaotic would be an understatement. Very little of what they do makes much sense. It seems the primary occupation of its senior staff is cleaning up after ignorant or offensive remarks by the candidate.
Today is no exception. Trump once again exposed his worst flank to the public in an interview with the Washington Post. When asked by Post reporter Robert Costa where President Obama was born, Trump retreated to his safe place. He was unable to give the obvious answer, Hawaii. He stubbornly clung to the racist birther position for which he was a leading proponent. Instead of finally conceding what everyone knows is the truth he said:
“I’ll answer that question at the right time. I just don’t want to answer it yet. I want to focus on other things. 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.”
What a transparently manifest load of bull. If he wanted to end talk about his fixation on birtherism all he would have to do is renounce it and apologize. This morning he got part of that message. Trump staged a press avail to finally announce that “President Obama was born in the United States, period.” Well, duh! However, he did not apologize for the years of slander and insults to the first African-American president or the people to whom Trump lied repeatedly.
Even worse, he used the opportunity to perpetuate another birther-related lie about Hillary Clinton saying that “Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it.” Actually that’s two lies. Clinton did not start the birther controversy, and he certainly didn’t finish. The Clinton nonsense was also in his campaign’s official statement that was released yesterday:
“Hillary Clinton’s campaign first raised this issue to smear then-candidate Barack Obama in her very nasty, failed 2008 campaign for President. […] Having successfully obtained President Obama’s birth certificate when others could not, Mr. Trump believes that President Obama was born in the United States.”
The same things that are wrong with that statement are wrong in Trump’s remarks today. First of all, he is giving Trump credit for obtaining Obama’s birth certificate which is patently false. Trump is fond of declaring himself the cause of things that happen in proximity to his having mentioned it. Never mind that others have been involved in the matter for months or years prior to him. He comes late to the New Year’s Party in Times Square and then takes credit for the ball dropping. Typically narcissistic behavior.
Secondly, when Obama released his birth certificate, Trump was the first to object to its authenticity. He later tweeted that “An ‘extremely credible source’ has called my office and told me that @BarackObama’s birth certificate is a fraud.” Could it be the same source he sent to Hawaii to investigate Obama’s birth, but who was never heard from again? Suddenly, and without explanation, Trump is satisfied with the birth certificate?
Included in the campaign’s statement was another persistent lie promoted by Trump. It wasn’t enough to try to weasel out of his birtherism, he had to blame it all on Hillary Clinton. This is a falsehood that was debunked by every fact-checking organization long ago. Nevertheless, Trump has repeatedly floated it as a means of taking the heat off of himself. But the facts are irrefutable. As PolitiFact found when rating this claim “False”:
“There is no record that Clinton herself or anyone within her campaign ever advanced the charge that Obama was not born in the United States. A review by our fellow fact-checkers at Factcheck.org reported that no journalist who investigated this ever found a connection to anyone in the Clinton organization.”
As For Hillary Clinton, she responded to Trump’s latest failure to take the opportunity to renounce his birther beliefs:
“He was asked one more time where was President Obama born, and he still wouldn’t say Hawaii. He still wouldn’t say America. This man wants to be our next president? When will he stop this ugliness, this bigotry? Now, he’s tried to reset himself and his campaign many times. This is the best he can do. This is who he is.”
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
The bottom line is that Trump is still completely unwilling to own up to his racism. He is too cowardly to admit that he was wrong. And making disingenuous statements infused with lies that fail to explain when or how Trump allegedly changed his mind will not resolve the matter. Especially when they double down on lies and brag about false achievements. But that is the best that we can expect from a candidate who has made lying and bragging his brand.