On several occasions between 2011 and 2016, Donald Trump questioned whether Barack Obama was born in the United States, and therefore, whether he was eligible to be president.
Between 2011 and 2014, Trump also raised the question at least thirty-seven times on Twitter. Here are a few examples:
Trump’s birther claims allowed him to significantly raise his profile as a presidential candidate, especially as the Tea Party gained prominence. Judson Phillips, the founder of the Tea Party Nation, wrote in an email to his group’s supporters:
Donald Trump has joined a lot of really sane Americans. He, like us, does not believe Barack Obama. The great thing about what Donald did is he said it and he did not flinch when he said it. A lot of the alleged conservative leaders have run like cockroaches when the lights are turned on from the eligibility issue. The fact that Trump will deal with that issue and deal with it head on raises his stock as a possible Presidential candidate in a lot of people’s eyes.
In 2015, Trump falsely claimed that John McCain and Hilary Clinton were both “birthers“:
In fact, John McCain repeatedly defended not only Barack Obama’s presidential eligibility, but also his integrity.
Trump’s reference to McCain being a birther may be loosely based on the fact that John McCain’s own presidential eligibility was called into question long before Barack Obama’s since McCain was born in a military hospital in the Panama Canal Zone. John McCain is also on record as saying that he thought it was “worth looking into” whether Ted Cruz was eligible to run for president because he was born in Canada. (He is eligible.)
The claim that Hillary Clinton was a “birther” has been repeatedly disproven:
- Was Hillary Clinton the Original ‘Birther’?
- Hillary Clinton Wasn’t a ‘Birther’
- Donald Trump’s ridiculous claim that Hillary Clinton started the birther movement
- Did Hillary Clinton start the Obama birther movement?
On September 16, 2016, Donald Trump again falsely claimed that Hillary Clinton started the birther movement, and then took credit for finally ending it.