Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump on Wednesday told a black business group that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was the “original birther.”
CNN’s Don Lemon asked Clinton earlier Wednesday during a radio interview whether she started “the whole birther thing.” Clinton told Lemon that was “ludicrous” and “totally untrue.”
“This is such a bad example of what’s wrong with instantaneous reactions and Americans getting all worked up and people feeding prejudice and paranoia, like Donald Trump,” she said on “The Tom Joyner Morning Show.” “Obviously all of us have to stand against it. I have been blamed for nearly everything. That was a new one to me.”
Speaking just a few hours later at a conference for the South Carolina African American Chamber of Commerce, Trump blamed the “birther” movement on the Democratic presidential frontrunner.
“She’s become shrill,” Trump said of Clinton. “She was saying, ‘What I said about Obama’—and yet in 2008 she was the original birther. She’s the one who started that whole thing. Hillary’s a birther.”
He went on to defend his reaction to a man who said Obama was a Muslim and not an American at a Thursday town hall event in New Hampshire. Trump said that he didn’t contradict the man because it was too hot in the venue to start a row.
“The other day, guy asks me a question. I didn’t give him an answer. I got in trouble because I didn’t give him an answer,” Trump said. “They said, ‘Isn’t that terrible.’ The man’s asking me a question. You know what, if I did, if I would’ve fought him … the last thing I wanted to do was get into a big argument with someone. I wanted to get the hell out of there. It was hot. I was soaking.”
“It’s a hell of a way to lose weight, I’ll tell you that,” he added.
During the 2012 election, Trump was a vocal skeptic of Obama’s U.S. citizenship and took credit for the President releasing his longform birth certificate.
In recent weeks, Trump the presidential candidate has refused to say whether he believes Obama was born in the U.S. When ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on Sunday asked Trump directly whether Obama was born in the U.S., the billionaire replied in characteristic rambling fashion.
“Well, you know, I don’t get into it, George. I think about jobs,” he said. “I’m talking about the military. I don’t get into iI’m talking about the military. I don’t get into it. I mean they ask that question and I just want to talk about the things, because frankly, it’s of no longer interest to me. We’re beyond that. And it’s just something I don’t talk about.”