On Thursday evening, Donald Trump invited a reporter from The Washington Post on to his plane, and the reporter asked if Trump — a leading proponent of the falsehood that President Obama was born outside the U.S., and is thus ineligible to be president — is now ready to acknowledge that Obama was born in Hawaii. He wasn't. "I'll answer that question at the right time," Trump said. "I just don't want to answer it yet."
His campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, recently tried to put the "birther" issue behind the campaign, telling CNN earlier this week that Trump believes Obama was born in the U.S. When reminded of that, Trump responded: "It's okay. She's allowed to speak what she thinks. I want to focus on jobs. I want to focus on other things." Thursday night, Trump's campaign released a statement saying "Mr. Trump believes that President Obama was born in the United States," blaming Hillary Clinton's campaign for first raising the issue (PolitiFact rates that claim False), and taking credit for bringing "this ugly incident to its conclusion by successfully compelling President Obama to release his birth certificate. Mr. Trump did a great service to the President and the country."
So why won't Trump himself renounce his aggressive promotion of this conspiracy theory himself and just admit Obama is American-born? "I don't talk about it anymore," Trump said. "The reason I don't is because then everyone is going to be talking about it as opposed to jobs, the military, the vets, security." When The Post said that just saying the magic words that Obama was born in Hawaii might help his sizable problem with black voters, Trump reportedly glared at the reporter and said, "I think it hangs over the reporters."
In other news, Trump said he won't release his taxes because of an IRS audit (son Donald Jr. just said his father's tax returns would just "detract from his main message") and that he won't release any more health information before the election. Below, you can watch a lively discussion on Thursday's Kelly File about Trump's lingering birtherism shadow. Peter Weber