Trump campaign ends birther claim, admits Obama born in the US

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WASHINGTON – Donald Trump’s campaign on Thursday said he believes President Barack Obama was born in the US, a major reversal from a line of attack he launched five years ago.

“In 2011, Mr. Trump was finally able to bring this ugly incident to its conclusion by successfully compelling President Obama to release his birth certificate. Mr. Trump did a great service to the President and the country by bringing closure to the issue that Hillary Clinton and her team first raised,” Trump spokesman Jason Miller said in a statement.

“Inarguably, Donald J. Trump is a closer. Having successfully obtained President Obama’s birth certificate when others could not, Mr. Trump believes that President Obama was born in the United States,” Miller added.

Earlier Thursday, Trump had again refused to say whether he believes Obama was born in the US, despite recent efforts by his top surrogates to downplay the “birther” controversy.

“I’ll answer that question at the right time. I just don’t want to answer it yet,” Trump told The Washington Post.

Trump was responding to a question about whether Kellyanne Conway, his campaign manager, was being accurate when she said last week that Trump now believes Obama was born in the United States.

Trump told the Post he didn’t want to talk about the so-called “birther” controversy anymore, but refused to say what he believed about it.

“It’s OK. (Conway) is allowed to speak what she thinks. I want to focus on jobs, I want to focus on other things,” he said. “I don’t talk about it anymore. The reason I don’t is because then everyone is going to be talking about it as opposed to jobs, the military, the vets, security.”

Surrogates downplay controversy

Conway told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “New Day” last Friday that the so-called birther controversy is over. Her remarks came after similar comments from Trump surrogate and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who said that Trump now believes Obama was born in the United States.

Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, also drew a clear distinction with Trump last Wednesday by saying that he believed Obama was born in the US.

Clinton slammed Trump’s comments to the Post while speaking at a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute event in Washington later Thursday, saying he needs to stop his “ugliness” and “bigotry.”

“He was asked one more time: Where was President Obama born? And he still wouldn’t say Hawaii. He still wouldn’t say America. This man wants to be our next president? When will he stop this ugliness, this bigotry,” she said. “This is the best he can do. This is who he is. And so we need to decide who we are.”

By Daniella Diaz, CNN