On September 16th, republican presidential nominee Donald Trump officially acknowledged that President Barack Obama was born in America. In the same breath, he passed blame on to his democratic opposition, Hillary Clinton. “Now, not to mention her in the same breath, but Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the “birther” controversy.” Trump stated. He issued no apology but brought attention to the beginnings of the “birther” theories.
The “birther” theory owes its conception to the Democratic Party. During Obama’s nominee campaign, a handful of democrats started a rumor that Obama was born in Kenya, therefore not eligible for election. Hillary Clinton never embraced this rumor; in fact, one of her campaign workers tried to spread this story in 2007 and was immediately dropped from the campaign.
The story eventually died among most of the Democratic Party, so what made it persist? Well, even after Obama became president many Republicans latched on to the story, mainly, Donald Trump. In 2011, Trump went onto many media outlets such as ABC’s “The View”, Fox’s “On The Record” and NBC’s “Today Show”, demanding that the Obama administration release his birth certificate.
Six weeks of Donald Trump talking in the media led to Obama’s camp releasing his birth certificate. Trump looked at this as a victory and stop talking about the theory outwardly. But even with the birth certificate the theory was never forgotten by Trump As seen on the 15th of September, when he declined to acknowledge that Mr. Obama was born in Hawaii in an interview with The Washington Post. This led to his statement the following day.
Many of Pace’s Students and Faculty have expressed their feelings towards Donald Trump’s response and the Birther controversy as a whole. “Birtherism is just racism without saying the word racism, the thinnest veneer to help ease the consciousness of racists who know that their ‘opinions’ will not be well received.” Says Professor Jonathan Danziger.
Donald Bell, a senior and English major, gave his comment on the matter. “This was a pointless issue to reopen, and is the type of distraction Clinton should be steering clear of, so as to avoid losing the most easily winnable presidential election in American history.”
No matter your opinion on the controversy, birtherism is sure to be topic in the coming debates between Trump and Clinton.