Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump and other conservatives are trying to blame Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton for the fact that birtherism is back in the news.
Trump asserted that Clinton invented the claim that Obama wasn’t born in America during the 2008 Democratic primary on Fox & Friends on Monday morning. When the hosts asked him to get more specific, he said, “Hillary was one of the first, maybe the first to bring it up.”
“You are saying the whole birther thing started with Hillary?” Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade asked.
“Go back and look and people don’t know that and people don’t talk about it. Actually people do know about it but they don’t talk about it. I think they should go back and look at it,” Trump replied.
“Absolutely,” agreed host Steve Doocy, “her campaign helped create the idea that Barack Obama was a Muslim and was born in Kenya.”
“That is correct. that’s where it began. That’s where it began, absolutely right,” Trump said. It’s a claim his Republican rival Ted Cruz has repeated as well.
Meanwhile, on MSNBC, Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough also expressed shock that Clinton would criticize Trump for placating a supporter who falsely asserted Obama was a Muslim.
“It was rich this weekend,” the former Republican congressman said of Clinton’s statements over the weekend, “but for Hillary Clinton to come out and criticize anybody for spreading the rumors about Barack Obama — when it all started with her and her passing things around in the Democratic primary is rich. It started — this started with Hillary Clinton and it was spread by the Clinton team in 2008.”
LIVE – Offsite Embedded PlayerEdit descriptionplayer.theplatform.comHarold Ford Jr., MSNBC contributor, disagreed, saying there didn’t seem to be evidence for the claims Scarborough was making.
Indeed, the idea that it was Hillary Clinton or her campaign who passed around a photoshopped meme of Barack Obama wearing a turban — later posted on Drudge — was widely speculated about at the time, but there was never clear evidence linking the meme to the Clinton campaign.
Indeed, it was something the Obama campaign itself pushed heavily at the time. “On the very day that Senator Clinton is giving a speech about restoring respect for America in the world, her campaign has engaged in the most shameful, offensive fear-mongering we’ve seen from either party in this election,” Obama campaign manager David Plouffe wrote in a statement to reporters in 2008.
But it was something the campaign itself denied: “If Barack Obama’s campaign wants to suggest that a photo of him wearing traditional Somali clothing is divisive, they should be ashamed,” she said. “Hillary Clinton has worn the traditional clothing of countries she has visited and had those photos published widely,” said then-campaign manager Maggie Williams.
“I just want to make it very clear that we were not aware of it, the campaign didn’t sanction it and don’t know anything about it,” Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson said in a teleconference with reporters, according to an AP report at the time. “None of us have seen the e-mail in question. If anybody has independent reporting that they’ve done on it I would welcome it.”
Now, of course, the Clinton campaign appears to have made amends with the Obama folks, with Plouffe himself reportedly meeting with Clinton early in her exploration of running for president on how to avoid another loss. And whatever birtherism exists in America, it seems to be mostly persistent among Republican supporters for Donald Trump.