Donald Trump reiterated his point that Hillary Clinton started the birther theory Monday night, citing reports of her campaign surrogates or staff spreading the rumor when she was running for president in 2008.
A former Washington reporter maintains Clinton surrogate Sid Blumenthal personally pitched him the President Barack Obama “birther” story in 2008, prompting him to send a reporter to Kenya to investigate.
The Clinton campaign and the media have consistently refuted Trump’s claim Clinton started the birther movement, which Trump re-upped Friday when he said for the first publicly that he believes Obama was born in the United States. “Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy,” Trump said, drawing a slew of media fact checks almost immediately. “I finished it.”
But former McClatchy Washington Bureau Chief James Asher has backed up Trump’s version of events, saying he was personally pitched the story by a Clinton surrogate in 2008.
Clinton had tweeted: “President Obama’s successor cannot and will not be the man who led the racist birther movement. Period.”
And Asher replied: “@HillaryClinton So why did your man #sidblumenthal spread the #obama birther rumor to me in 2008, asking us to investigate? Remember?”
Blumenthal is a former aide to Clinton’s husband former President Bill Clinton and their long-time friend.
“#CNN says #Hillary team in 2008 never raised the #birther issue,” he said in another tweet Thursday night. “#SidBlumenthal, long-time #HRC buddy, told me in person #Obama born in #kenya.”
Nevertheless, as soon as Trump reiterated his criticism, Clinton started the birther movement, the media started churning out fact checks.
“I covered it at the time,” CNN’s Jake Tapper said Sept. 16, referring to the movement. “She and her campaign never, never started the birther issue.”
“Trump Drops False ‘Birther’ Theory, but Floats a New One: Clinton Started It,” blared a New York Times headline. And The Washington Post fact checker quickly spun up a piece declaring the claim “debunked.”
At one point the MSNBC chyron read: “Trump (falsely) claims Clinton started birther controversy.”
Editor’s Note: The original version of this story first appeared September 16.
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