Last Gasp of Birther-Mania

Donald Trump is going around the country giving good speeches on the economy, on race, on immigration. He is visiting African-American precincts and asking for votes with lines like this one: It used to be they made cars in Flint, and you couldn’t drink the water in Mexico. Now they make cars in Mexico, and you can’t drink the water in Flint. That scares the daylights out of the Democrats, so what did they do? Suddenly, reporters on the campaign trail are desperate to talk about birtherism.

Why? Has something happened to make President Obama’s birthplace a campaign issue? No. They just want to change the subject. I wrote earlier today about how Trump snookered the campaign press corps into giving him free television time for endorsements by former military officers, when they hoped he would give a press conference on President Obama’s birthplace.

But that didn’t stop the press: the story was all about birtherism. This Associated Press article by reporters Jill Colvin and Jonathan Lemire reads like a DNC press release. (Who knows, maybe that’s where they got it?) The headline is “Reversing course, Trump admits Obama was born in the US.” This is the opening paragraph of the AP’s “news story.”

After five years as the chief promoter of a lie about Barack Obama’s birthplace, Donald Trump abruptly reversed course Friday and acknowledged the fact that the president was born in America. He then immediately peddled another false conspiracy.

This is really stunning. Has the AP ever written such an absurdly partisan paragraph about a presidential candidate? I doubt it.

“President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period,” Trump declared, enunciating each word in a brief statement at the end of a campaign appearance. “Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again.”

But as the GOP presidential nominee sought to put that false conspiracy theory to rest, he stoked another, claiming the “birther movement” was begun by his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. There is no evidence that is true.

Actually, the first person to claim that Barack Obama was born overseas was Barack Obama. His own literary biography said, for, as I recall, 19 years, that he was born in Kenya.

But it appears to be true that later claims about Obama being ineligible for the presidency began with the Clinton campaign, contrary to the AP’s assertion. Clinton’s 2008 campaign manager, Patti Doyle, admitted today what has been long reported: that a “rogue” Clinton staffer spread the rumor during the 2008 primary campaign. The AP’s claim that there is “no evidence” of involvement by the Clinton campaign is simply false. [UPDATE: The appalling Sid Blumenthal, one of Hillary’s closest confidantes, was spreading the Kenya rumor too.]

Jill Colvin and Jonathan Lemire

Jill Colvin and Jonathan Lemire

Can you believe the Associated Press included this sentence in a “news story”?

Trump’s allegation on Clinton starting the controversy is the latest example of his tendency to repeat statements that are patently false.

The “reporters'” adversarial mode continues:

Trump’s campaign spokesman Jason Miller issued a statement that suggested the question had been settled five years ago — by Trump.

“In 2011, Mr. Trump was finally able to bring this ugly incident to its conclusion by successfully compelling President Obama to release his birth certificate,” Miller said.
***
The facts do not match Miller’s description. Trump repeatedly continued to question Obama’s birth in the years after the president released his birth certificate. In August 2012, for example, Trump was pushing the issue on Twitter.

The AP operatives quote President Obama in a manner that I find ironic, although any irony is lost on them:

The president added Friday that he hoped the election would focus on more serious issues, and said he “was pretty confident about where I was born.”

It is Trump, of course, who is focusing on serious issues. When was the last time he mentioned anything about where Obama was born? It isn’t Trump, but rather Democratic Party organizations like the Associated Press that want to dredge up the subject, hoping to salvage Hillary Clinton’s flailing campaign.

The AP reporters, Jill Colvin and Jonathan Lemire, whose names should live in infamy, end their “news story” on a deeply symbolic note:

After Trump’s event, the GOP nominee invited photographers and a camera on a tour of his new hotel property, without reporters present.

Meanwhile, the backdrop of blue curtains that Trump had spoken in front of collapsed, toppling a row of American flags like dominoes.

Heavy, man! “Reporters” like Colvin and Lemire have turned the Associated Press into a bad joke.

Responses