A timeline of Donald Trump’s birther conspiracy theory about President Obama
Trump was “very proud” to lead this movement.
At a rally earlier this month, Donald Trump took his insinuations that our first African American president is illegitimate to a new level, putting the “president” in “President Obama” in air quotes.
This is nothing new for Trump, who has said he’s “very proud” to be a leader of the racist birther movement. For years, Trump has peddled this lie in order to gain political capital in the Republican Party. It’s been Trump’s way of signaling to the most racist pockets of America that our first African American president is somehow illegitimate.
Take a look at how Trump spread this racist myth about President Obama:
Trump was considering running for president. And he made the centerpiece of his shadow campaign President Obama’s place of birth.
March 23, to “The View”
March 28, to Fox News
“I’m starting to wonder myself whether or not he was born in this country.”
March 30, to “The Laura Ingraham Show”
April 7, to “The Today Show”
April 19, to ABC News
April 27, 2011
April 30th, 2011
Instead of responding to President Obama releasing his birth certificate with humility—or, better yet, apologizing—Trump spent the entire next year trying to prove it was inauthentic. (He failed.)
May 29, to CNN
August 11, to ABC
He kept tweeting.
It continued in 2014, too.
May, to Irish TV
May 27, to the National Press Club
In 2015, Trump tried to stay silent on the issue of birtherism—refusing to come out one way or the other. But that didn’t last long.
July 9, to Anderson Cooper
Even this year, as a presidential candidate, Trump repeatedly refused to confirm that President Obama was born in the United States.
January 6, to CNN
Trump went on to win the Republican Primary—and, along the way, repeatedly refused to discuss President Obama’s place of birth. On September 15th, the Washington Post finally decided to press him: More than five years after President Obama released his longform birth certificate, would Trump admit that our president was born in the United States?
The following day, after tremendous media pressure, Trump decided to answer the question at a press conference.
To recap Trump’s birther journey, in 10 steps:
- Trump started birtherism—and was a “proud leader” of the movement.
- Trump wouldn’t acknowledge President Obama’s longform birth certificate was authentic.
- Trump tried to prove the certificate was a fraud.
- Trump failed. Badly.
- Trump decided to run for president and ignore the issue of birtherism altogether.
- Trump couldn’t help himself—and, when asked, refused to say that President Obama was born in the United States.
- After media pressure, Trump claimed he’d always believed the longform birth certificate was authentic (even though there is video evidence to the contrary).
- Trump falsely blamed Hillary Clinton for birtherism.
- Trump once again started taking pride in the birther movement—saying he “did a good job” getting President Obama to release his longform certificate.
- Trump still refuses to apologize, emboldening birthers at press conferences and even debates.
As President Obama says, his name may not be on the ballot this November, but his legacy is—and he will “consider it a personal insult” if his supporters don’t show up to the polls and vote for Hillary. After all, just like Trump has tried to discredit President Obama for the color of his skin, he has tried to discredit Hillary based on her gender. In Trump’s words, Hillary “doesn’t have that presidential look.”
It’s up to us to prove Trump wrong.