‘Birther’ cha­rade went on for far too long

Don­ald Trump has fi­nally ac­knowl­edged that Pres­i­dent Barack Obama was born in the United States.

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - — Pen­nLive.com

It took long enough for Don­ald Trump to fi­nally ac­knowl­edge that Pres­i­dent Barack Obama was born in the U.S.

Con­grat­u­la­tions. But the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee, while ap­par­ently end­ing his re­pug­nant prac­tice of cast­ing doubt on the 44th Pres­i­dent’s ci­ti­zen­ship, none­the­less man­aged to falsely blame Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton for stok­ing the con­tro­versy in the first place.

“Hil­lary Clin­ton and her cam­paign of 2008 started the birther con­tro­versy. I fin­ished it. I fin­ished it, you know what I mean,” Trump said Fri­day, ac­cord­ing to The Washington Post. “Pres­i­dent Barack Obama was born in the United States. Pe­riod.”

That’s a lie — and Trump knows it.

The claim that Clin­ton or her cam­paign was re­spon­si­ble in 2008 for the rise of the so-called “birther move­ment” has long since been de­bunked, and no cred­i­ble per­son sub­scribes to that spe­cious yarn.

And it is equally true that no se­ri­ous per­son hangs onto the false be­lief that Obama was born any­where other than Hawaii in Au­gust of 1961.

Thus it’s clear that Trump is hang­ing onto the Clin­ton claim for one rea­son and one rea­son only: Po­lit­i­cal ad­van­tage. In the past week, Clin­ton’s lead in na­tional polls has evap­o­rated and some voter can­vasses now show Trump ei­ther run­ning even with, or ahead of, Clin­ton in such key bat­tle­ground states as Ohio and Florida.

Clin­ton was sharply crit­i­cized last week for inart­fully say­ing that half of Trump’s sup­port­ers be­longed in a “bas­ket of de­plorables,” be­cause they were racist, xeno­pho­bic ho­mo­pho­bic, or worse.

Clin­ton has said she re­grets her re­marks. But that does not mean she was in­cor­rect.

It’s in­con­testable that Trump’s rise has been par­tially fu­eled by the an­gri­est and most na­tivist el­e­ments of the Amer­i­can far­right.

It’s in that shad­owy and fetid nether­world, given voice by Bre­it­bart News (whose for­mer ex­ec­u­tive, Steve Ban­non, Trump now em­ploys) that frankly racist spec­u­la­tion about Obama’s parent­age, ci­ti­zen­ship and re­li­gious be­liefs rose and flour­ished.

Thus, there is zero in­cen­tive for Trump, who has prof­ited by play­ing into his sup­port­ers’ worst fears about Mus­lims, im­mi­grants and oth­ers, to stop blow­ing that par­tic­u­lar dog whis­tle by falsely blam­ing Clin­ton for start­ing such hate­ful ru­mors.

We would re­mind Trump that he is run­ning for pres­i­dent of the en­tire United States — not that just that aging, largely white pop­u­la­tion that makes up the broad­est part of his base.

So, Mr. Trump, if you would pre­sume to lead an en­tire na­tion, drop this un­seemly cha­rade.

In the past week, Clin­ton’s lead in na­tional polls has evap­o­rated and some voter can­vasses now show Trump ei­ther run­ning even with, or ahead of, Clin­ton in such key bat­tle­ground states as Ohio and Florida.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump speaks dur­ing a cam­paign rally Wed­nes­day in Toledo, Ohio.

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