Why it's so hard for Trump to give up his birther crusade

In the five years since Donald Trump first launched his birther crusade, he has had plenty of reasons — and opportunities — to disavow the conspiracy theory and apologize for championing it. Yet, even now, 52 days from a presidential election that he could conceivably win, the Republican nominee can’t quite bring himself to fully let go.

The reason: Trump isn’t just unrepentant of his birther history — he is unabashedly proud of it.

In a long career of self-serving publicity stunts, Trump considers his notorious birther turn in 2011 to be one of his most brilliant and bankable — a masterstroke of media manipulation that catapulted him into political stardom, marshaled a movement of new right-wing super-fans, and even forced a response from the commander-in-chief.

On Friday, even when he admitted that President Obama was born in United States, he claimed victory — and certainly didn’t apologize.