After five years of promoting the idea that President Obama wasn't born in the United States, Donald Trump reversed course on Friday. "President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period," Trump said in televised remarks, per the AP. "Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again." But as Trump sought to put that conspiracy theory to rest, he stoked another, claiming that the "birther movement" was started by Hillary Clinton. Clinton herself said Friday that Trump owes Obama and the American people an apology for his role as a leading "birther" questioning the president's citizenship.
"Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy," Trump said, without offering evidence. "I finished it." Trump spoke against a backdrop of veterans in a sprawling ballroom at his new Washington hotel. His statement of a few seconds came only after a lengthy campaign event featuring military officers and award winners who have endorsed him. Trump did not address the issue until the end of the event, turning it into a de facto commercial, as the major cable TV networks aired the full event live in anticipation of comments Trump had hyped hours before. As late as Wednesday, he would not acknowledge that Obama was born in Hawaii, declining to address the matter in a Washington Post interview.