Kellyanne Conway: Trump now believes Obama was born in the United States
Via RCP, here’s where the Birther saga ends, I guess. If it were just Conway saying this I’d chalk it up to her trying to wriggle out of a tough spot in an interview but Rudy Giuliani made the same claim last night when Chris Matthews came after him over Birtherism: “Donald Trump believes now that he [Obama] was born in the United States.” In fact, Rudy claims that Trump himself has said as much in the past, which I’m almost certain is wrong. The most Trump has said, unless I’ve missed something, is what he told a local reporter last weekend, that he’s not discussing the issue anymore. If Giuliani were right that Trump believes Obama was born in the U.S., he would have just said that instead of giving his now customary no-comment.
Either way, he’s going to have to take position on it soon as it’s guaranteed to come up at the debates. If you thought the left’s brutalizing of Matt Lauer was a spectacle, wait and see what happens if Trump makes it through five hours without a moderator mentioning that he was the Birther-in-chief for a few months in 2011. Democrats want that issue aired to help convince black voters who are lukewarm about Clinton to suck it up and turn out anyway. The fact that Conway and Giuliani are on the same page message-wise probably means that Trump himself has already settled on conceding that Obama is a natural-born citizen. And why not? Now’s the perfect time to cave to reality. He’s already proved his political incorrectness in a hundred other ways, and his Birther fans will understand that he needs to pander a bit to centrists to improve his chances of winning the election. They’ll let him slide on giving up on the birth certificate.
Besides, Trump already has a counterattack prepared for Clinton; watch Giuliani’s exchange with Matthews below for a sneak preview. He’s going to argue, with Hillary standing right there, that her 2008 campaign was whispering about Obama’s origins long before Trump got to the issue. Remember Hillary saying in an interview at the time when asked if she thought Obama is a Muslim that there’s nothing to base that accusation on “as far as I know”? Remember her staff circulating the photo of him in a turban? Remember towards the end of the primaries when she made the case for nominating her over him because more “hard-working Americans, white Americans” preferred her in the primaries? Remember “super-predators” years before that? A well-prepared GOP nominee would be ready to turn a Birther attack from her into a comprehensive counterattack on Clinton’s own supposed progressivism on racial matters, but Trump being Trump, you probably won’t get much more than “She started Birtherism!” Which might be all you need to parry this criticism.