A freshman congressman was confronted by a birther Thursday at a town hall in Oklahoma, and at first splashed cold water on her conspiracy theory before saying he believed her.
Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) was fielding questions at the event in Afton, Okla. when a woman asked him about “Obama’s identification.”
“Let me just stop you right there. You’re talking about the birth certificate?” Mullin said. “We lost that argument Nov. 6. We had four years to get that proven. We didn’t. We re-elected him. So that’s a dead issue.”
His answer prompted the woman to present documents produced last year by Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio that purportedly showed Obama’s birth certificate is a “fraud.” Birthers believe in a theory that has been debunked numerous times that Obama is not a natural born citizen of the United States and therefore ineligible to be president. When Mullin refused to take the papers, the woman stood before the crowd and detailed their contents.
Mullin later likened birthers to “those Christians that are on the street corners that are screaming scripture at cars as they drive by,” arguing that both groups, despite their good intentions, do more harm than good. He then told the woman that he buys her claims.
“I believe what you’re saying and I don’t support this president whatsoever,” he told her. “But ma’am, we lost Nov. 6. We had the opportunity to get another president in there.”
The woman shouted over Mullin, decrying that Obama won’t “be held accountable to a crime that goes to the very root of what he’s doing to this Constitution.”
“He was a fraud, he got in,” the woman said as she stormed out. “He’s above the law.”
It marked the second time recently that a Republican lawmaker performed an awkward dance during a discussion of birtherism. Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) told constituents that although he thinks the issue is a “distraction” he will nevertheless support a bill to investigate Obama’s birth certificate.
Watch video of Mullin’s exchange, via Think Progress: