In an audio recording posted Monday by the organization Right Wing Watch, Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) seemed to express an openness to investigating President Barack Obama’s birth certificate. If the conspiracy theory proved true, he said, Republicans could undo all of the administration’s policies.
It was unclear exactly when or where Yoho made the remarks. Right Wing Watch reported only that the audio was recorded during a town hall “earlier this month.” The recording also does not seem to give complete context, representing a little more than a minute of the meeting. The organization also posted other short snippets of audio from the meeting in which Yoho discussed other topics.
But Yoho could be clearly heard in the first snippet discussing a proposal by Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) to investigate whether Obama’s birth certificate is fake, a conspiracy theory that has been debunked numerous times. Birthers believe that Obama is not a natural born citizen of the United States, and therefore ineligible to be president.
When Yoho said that he told Stockman he intended to sign on to the birther bill, the crowd immediately broke into applause. Moments later, when Yoho asked if such an investigation is “really how we should be spending our time,” the crowd responded with an emphatic “no.”
“But I’m gonna check into that because in order to have freedom, you have to have economic freedom,” Yoho pledged, before quickly characterizing the investigation as a “distraction.”
He then seemed to shift again, offering his apparent justification for backing Stockman’s bill.
“But then they said, well, if it is truly illegal, he shouldn’t be there and we can get rid of everything and I said I agree with that.”
And just when it seemed that Yoho had gone full birther, he pulled back once more.
“But is that the best way to spend our time?” he wondered.
Listen to the audio clip posted by Right Wing Watch: