“President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period,” Donald Trump said in a televised speech in Washington, D.C., on Friday morning.
The Republican presidential nominee said that he was putting an end to the so-called birther controversy, which claims that Obama is not originally from the U.S.
“Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy,” he began. It was, as the New York Times later stated, a false assertion. “I finished it. I finished it. You know what I mean.”
He then said that the sitting president — who was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1961 — is, indeed, a native-born American. In doing so, he quashed a contrived theory that has spread through right-wing circles, with Trump being one of its leading proponents, ever since Obama embarked on his bid for the White House nearly a decade ago.
“Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again,” Trump added in conclusion.
For more than five years, Trump has been one of the primary voices in the “birther movement,” a cause that has tapped into racial animus to try to invalidate the legitimacy of the current Commander in Chief. It has long been a dark cloud hanging over the current cultural climate, dominating the divisive discourse that has dogged American government and politics for years.
While Trump openly pondered a 2012 presidential run, he fueled the fire by unleashing a series of attacks on Obama’s citizenship, raising caustic questions that he did not put to rest — even after Obama produced a birth certificate from the state of Hawaii in 2011 or after Trump became the Republican Party’s nominee to replace Obama in the nation’s top elected office in 2016.
Earlier this week, as Trump’s surrogates acknowledged that Obama was born in the U.S., Trump, who has been trying to court minority voters alienated by the birther movement, continued to evade questions about the validity of Obama’s citizenship.
“I’ll answer that question at the right time,” Trump told the Washington Post in an interview on Wednesday. “I just don’t want to answer it yet.”
On Friday morning, he finally did.