Donald Trump put an end to his pushing the birther movement while in the same breath fueling the conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton started the movement in a speech at his newest property on Friday.
“Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it,” Trump said in a campaign event at his new D.C. hotel. “President Obama was born in the United States. Period.”
After the declaration, Trump said, “Now, we all want to get back to making America strong and great again.”
The idea that Clinton or her staff started the so-called birther movement, which pushes the notion that Obama was born in Africa so his presidency is illegitimate, has been thoroughly debunked.
The event, which Trump hyped as a “major announcement” about his birther views, started 40 minutes late and garnered nearly unbroken coverage from the major TV news networks as numerous Medal of Honor recipients spoke about their endorsing Trump. It also provided a prime PR moment for the new Trump International Hotel, which just opened on Monday.
When the GOP nominee finally took the stage to deliver the “announcement,” he spoke for a couple minutes about the military before abruptly pivoting to accuse Clinton of starting the movement. Once those very brief remarks ended, Trump left the stage without answering shouted questions from the press.
This post has been updated.