Donald Trump Is Still A Birther, But He Doesn’t Want To Talk About That Anymore

Donald Trump says he still doesn't know where the President was born, but he'd rather not talk about that anymore.

Donald Trump Speaking Closeup

Donald Trump says he still doesn’t know where President Obama was born, but he doesn’t want to talk about it anymore:

Donald Trump says he’s still not convinced President Obama was born in America, but that he’s not interested in rehashing the issue.

“I don’t know. I really don’t know,” the 2016 Republican presidential candidate told CNN when asked on Thursday. “I don’t know why he wouldn’t release his records.”

Trump insisted he doesn’t want that debate to define his candidacy, though.

“Honestly, I don’t want to get into it,” he said. “I’m about jobs, I’m about the military, I’m about doing the right thing for this country.”

Here’s the video:

Given the fact that he has never really taken back what he said in 2011 about the President’s place of birth even have being presented with incontrovertible evidence establishing that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, it’s not surprising that Donald Trump is still saying that he believes what he believed four years ago. After all, this is not a man who has ever really publicly admitted that he was wrong about anything so there no reason for him to start now. At the same time, though, it is interesting that he’s choosing not to emphasize the issue that vaulted him to the top of the polls temporarily during the last election cycle. Instead, he’s pushing an issue that resonates will with a good part of the Republican base and the fact that he’s doing it in a way that is causing the media and many establishment Republicans to attack him is probably helping him with that segment of the party. What this suggests, as Allahpundit notes in his post this morning, is that Trump is actually approaching this race as a smarter politician than some of us may be giving him credit for. He’s most likely not going to win the election, what he’s saying is both offensive to immigrants to the United State from all cultures and quite simply wrong, but it’s resonating with a certain segment of the party right now. As I’ve suggested before, to a large degree that’s because it’s still early in the race and voters know that they can change their minds more than once before the time to vote actually arrives. It’s also because Trump is far better at handling the media than anyone in the race on either side, largely because he clearly doesn’t care what the reporters say about him. You won’t Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, or Hillary Clinton acting this way, of course, but Donald Trump can do it because, in the end, he clearly doesn’t really care if he wins or not. This is all a game to him and we’re just along for the ride.

Peggy Noonan hits on this in her column today:

Donald Trump has a real following, and people make a mistake in assuming his appeal is limited to Republicans. His persona and particular brand of populism have hit a nerve among some independents and moderate Democrats too, and I say this because two independent voters and one Democrat (they are all working-class or think of themselves that way) volunteered to me this week how much they like him, and why. This is purely anecdotal, but here’s what they said:

They think he’s real, that he’s under nobody’s thumb, that maybe he’s a big-mouth but he’s a truth-teller. He’s afraid of no one, he’s not politically correct. He’s rich and can’t be bought by some billionaire, because he is the billionaire. He’s talking about what people are thinking and don’t feel free to say. He can turn the economy around because he made a lot of money, so he probably knows how to make jobs.

He is a fighter. People want a fighter. Maybe he’s impolitic but he’s better than some guy who filters everything he says through a screen of political calculation.

Some other things Mr. Trump has going for him the three people I spoke to did not mention but they agreed when I did:

Mr. Trump is not a serious man, which is part of his appeal in a country that has grown increasingly unserious.

He’s a showman in a country that likes to watch shows—a country that believes all politics is showbiz now, and all politicians are entertainers of varying degrees of competence. At least Mr. Trump is honest about it.

He capitalizes on the fact that no one in America trusts politicians anymore.

The thing that has propelled him so high so far—he’s No. 1 among Republicans in one national poll, No. 2 in New Hampshire and tied for No. 2 in Iowa—is his announcement speech on June 16. One part of the speech has been heavily quoted: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. . . . They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” That last—“I assume”—was the cruelest.

The minute I heard it I knew he’d hit a nerve. He said what a lot of people think and are afraid to say. Certainly after the murder this week of a young woman in San Francisco by an illegal-alien felon who’d been deported five times, what Mr. Trump said resonated.

In some sense then, the fact that Trump is succeeding right now is a reflection of the fact that so many Americans have lost faith in our political system. The resentment that he capitalizes on probably won’t be enough to get him the nomination, and he’d never be elected President, but it’s a real phenomenon and as long as he’s able to tap into he’s going to remain a factor in this race. Trump’s decision to forgo the birther talk this time around is one sign of that, if he starts to return to it perhaps that will be a sign that he knows he’s peaked..

 

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Tony W says:

    Just more proof he’s aligned with mainstream Republican primary voters. Frankly they deserve this level of candidate – despite the loss of Cain, Bachmann, etc. I think it might actually be worse this time than it was in 2008/12.

  2. humanoid.panda says:

    Donald Trump has a real following, and people make a mistake in assuming his appeal is limited to Republicans. His persona and particular brand of populism have hit a nerve among some independents and moderate Democrats too, and I say this because two independent voters and one Democrat (they are all working-class or think of themselves that way) volunteered to me this week how much they like him, and wh

    Oh FFS. This is the woman who decided that Romney will win in a landslide because “vibrations” and lawn signs, one week before the elections- and 3 years later, she neither lost her job, learned her lesson so her bosses still pay her for the analytically useless practice of confusing her random conversation with universal meaning.. For proponents of the free market, the WSJ editorial page are really not for creative destruction, are they? It’s almost like all that stuff is only for the little people.

    Also, the odds of her having conversed with a working class person who is not a waiter or a maintenance guy for her condo in the last twenty years or so as high as me having wild sex with Kristina Hendricks tonight.

  3. Modulo Myself says:

    Resentment comes from losing entitlements and advantages. It has nothing to do with losing faith in our political system. There was never an our for these people.In their minds, the system was theirs and now it isn’t. Trump represents a more honest form of bullying and deceit than the usual GOP slimebag. That’s it.

  4. Jim Henley says:

    I wouldn’t trust Peggy “Yard Signs Have a Feeling” Noonan to take the nation’s political pulse myself.

  5. michael reynolds says:

    Can he take Iowa? New Hampshire? South Carolina? Nevada? I don’t see it. Iowan Republicans are Bible-thumpers, they’ll want someone less openly non-religious. NH? Nah, they’ve been at this game a long time, they know he’s a distraction. South Carolina? Nope. Nevada? Nope.

    I wish I could see a better path for Trump. How long will he stay in if he’s losing?

    The thing that would make me happiest of course is for Trump to come in second in Iowa behind Walker or Huckabee; third in New Hampshire behind Jeb and, say, Rubio; second in SC behind Huckabee; second in Nevada behind anyone but Bush.

    That would leave us with things very much up in the air before Super Tuesday. That’s the place where Trump has to make the decision to go Third Party. Because Super Tuesday is all about organization and Trump doesn’t have one.

    My own little happy dream is Jeb staggering into Cleveland short of delegates so we get an open convention. Trump in a 3rd party run polling at 6 or 7%. Hillary with maybe Julian Castro as Veep. 53-44-3.

  6. humanoid.panda says:

    The minute I heard it I knew he’d hit a nerve. He said what a lot of people think and are afraid to say. Certainly after the murder this week of a young woman in San Francisco by an illegal-alien felon who’d been deported five times, what Mr. Trump said resonated.

    Shorter Peggy Noonan: this is what I feel, but I am too cowardly to say it, so I will slander use fictional white working stiffs as avatars for my feelings.

    PS: The thought just occured to me: this is exactly, but exactly, the line Jenos was sprouting here yesterday. Do we have a real, living, breathing presidential speechwriter in our midst?

  7. Moderate Mom says:

    The fact that this clown is sucking so much oxygen out of the room is depressing. Most depressing of all is the fact that the media is treating him as a viable candidate. Perhaps if the media wasn’t hyping his insanity, people would start paying attention to serious candidates and put this clown back in the clown car as his circus leaves town.

  8. Pete S says:

    If he genuinely doesn’t want to talk about birther nonsense, then he does not answer the question “I don’t know why he wouldn’t release his records”. He may not want to bring the idiocy up, but I suspect he is perfectly happy for others to do so. The angry idiots he is pandering to need to be kept angry and stupid and not focused on his lifetime record of being a liberal and a bankrupt.

  9. al-Ameda says:

    The entertainment value of Trump is just tremendous.
    I certainly hope he’s in it for the long run, or at least viable for another 9 months or so. The Democratic Party really could not as for much more.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Shorter Peggy Noonan: I know 3 really stupid people who aren’t Republicans and WHOOOOBOY! wait till you hear what they said.

    Personally, I’m still waiting for the genetic tests that prove Donald Trump is a human.

  11. Jim Henley says:

    @Moderate Mom:

    Perhaps if the media wasn’t hyping his insanity, people would start paying attention to serious candidates and put this clown back in the clown car as his circus leaves town.

    LOL at the idea there are “serious” GOP candidates this year.

  12. Cheryl Rofer says:

    I don’t want a fighter. So tired of that hostile trope.

  13. Paul L. says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    the murder this week of a young woman in San Francisco by an illegal-alien felon who’d been deported five time

    Why aren’t the ungodly progressives defending poor 99%er undocumented US citizen Francisco Sanchez? He said the evil gun just went off 3 times by itself. Progressives should blame the death of Kate Steinle on the NRA and push for banning guns and mandating smart guns for Law enforcement.

  14. C. Clavin says:

    First Stuart Stevens…and now Peggy Noonan.
    You guys are cracking me up today.
    Is it April 1st?

  15. Jim Henley says:

    @Paul L.: Translation: “If progressives refuse to make foolish statements about a random murderer I’ll make some up for them myself!”

  16. wr says:

    Of course he’s not pushing the birther issue — and it’s got nothing to do with him becoming a better politician.

    HE’S NOT RUNNING AGAINST BARACK OBAMA.

    How the hell WOULD he use the birther issue against Hillary or anyone else? What possible relevance could it have during this campaign?

    What a ridiculous metric by which to judge his political “smartness.” Of course that judgment came from Allahpundit, so maybe this sentence is redundant.

  17. Lenoxus says:

    @wr:

    How the hell WOULD he use the birther issue against Hillary or anyone else? What possible relevance could it have during this campaign?

    If Obama wasn’t born here and the evidence for such is sufficiently strong, then Democrats are at best naive and at worst culpable in covering for him. He could use it against Clinton in the same way Clinton would use the inverse againsy him — “Ladies and Gentlemen, here’s Hillary Clinton, a person so gullible, dishonest, and ideologically driven that she actually believes Obama was born in Hawaii.”

    Surely if there’s anything to birtherism and it’s a legitimate proposition rather than a tribal signal, then that’s a valid line of argument.

  18. stonetools says:

    What does it say about the Republican Party that the guy leading the polls has not one serious policy proposal to make but is at the head of pack by virtue of a series of outrageous statements appealing to the bigotry of the Republican base? Isn’t the real reason people vote Republican now pellucidly clear?
    So much for “limited government”, “low taxes” , and “family values.”That stuff is not rwhat really gets Republican voters going. That much is clear. All that a thrice married , repeatedly bankrupt, pro choice, nonreligious guy has to do to lead the Republicans is to attack the browns -and viola!

  19. grumpy realist says:

    @Moderate Mom: Considering what the rest of the Republican Clown Car are saying, “serious” is treating them with too much respect.

  20. KM says:

    @wr:

    HE’S NOT RUNNING AGAINST BARACK OBAMA.

    How the hell WOULD he use the birther issue against Hillary or anyone else? What possible relevance could it have during this campaign?

    Ted Cruz, the Canadian Blunder. To admit Cruz is eligible is to logically admit Obama is eligible. Cruz’s situation of confirmed birth on foreign soil to one non-American parent (not naturalized U.S. citizen till 2005) means that if he can be president, all the whiny birther arguments against Obama fail down to their most basic premise: racism due to the color of his skin. It really puts it all out there on display so that only the most stubborn deniers can’t see it. Notice how it’s magically not an issue now for good ole’ Ted while people are still grumbling about the Kenyan usurper. Where are the concerned citizens on the right screaming about one of their own daring to violate the Constitution like that? Suddenly, it’s not such a pressing national or legal concern anymore.

    Trump knows he ain’t gonna win. He’s aiming for money, attention and maybe connections. Talking about this will inevitably bring attention to Cruz and if Trump wants that shiny VP spot, he’ll keep his mouth shut. They’re alike enough that Trump might feel comfortable in measuring out an office. It’s a weapon in his arsenal that’ can only commit friendly fire at this point.

  21. grumpy realist says:

    A moan of despair from the sensible conservatives, to which I retort: you just now noticed that you’re riding the tiger?

  22. gVOR08 says:

    @Moderate Mom:

    Most depressing of all is the fact that the media is treating him as a viable candidate.

    Sadly, no. What I find most depressing is that there is a large chunk of likely voters (27%?) who have absolutely no functioning bullshit detector.

  23. EddieInCA says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Great article, grumpy.

  24. gVOR08 says:

    @wr: @Lenoxus: I believe your both assuming A) some intention on Trumps part to ever run against the Dem nominee, and B) a degree of rationality on the part of Republican primary voters that relies on facts not in evidence. “Dems bad” will suffice for the primaries.

  25. humanoid.panda says:

    @Paul L.:

    Why aren’t the ungodly progressives defending poor 99%er undocumented US citizen Francisco Sanchez? He said the evil gun just went off 3 times by itself. Progressives should blame the death of Kate Steinle on the NRA and push for banning guns and mandating smart guns for Law enforcement.

    Tell, me does the BS you write convince yourself? Does it make you feel better about life? I mean- people like Jenos and James P are at least getting a rise of people. You even fail to do that.

  26. humanoid.panda says:

    @gVOR08: As chance has it, the latest Pew poll found that ths sum total of people picking Trump as either first or second choice is, drum roll please: 27%. You can’t make that shit up.

  27. An Interested Party says:

    Humph, quoting Peggy Noonan in a serious way is about as ridiculous as the nonsensical “both sides do it” argument that is trotted out so often here…silly libertarian…

  28. Pete S says:

    @wr: You are right, he is not running against Barack Obama. But he is in a crowded primary and is trying to distinguish himself through pure racism about immigration, and the same idiots who believe his nonsense also believe the birther nonsense. It also gives him a chance to point out that most of the other candidates are already in government and not fighting the illegitimate president and his dangerous immigration hard enough. It is a vile despicable campaign premise that appeals to a depressing number of voters. A subtle appeal to the Confederate flag on some Southern campaign stops will be the logical next step.

  29. Tyrell says:

    All of the candidates need to address the growing world economic crisis and how it could effect the US economy. Particularity watch what the IMF does.

  30. DrDaveT says:

    @KM:

    if Trump wants that shiny VP spot

    Sh_t. There went a week of sleep…

  31. Thomas Weaver says:

    So, this conservative (so called) blog doesn’t want to cover the crowd, speech, and Trump in AZ. It wants to negate any positive outcomes and you have to ask yourself – Why?
    The crowds are very large and it appears that this individual is shining a light on a topic that a lot of folks are interested in. Meanwhile, in the tepid arena of main stream GOP, rough him up, lie about the polls, or ignore him…hoping no one will pay attention. It won’t wash because he is beholden to no one and speaks his mind. No script and no teleprompters….we love it and it scares the bjesus out of the libturds.

  32. Jim Henley says:
  33. Tony W says:

    @Thomas Weaver: Please send him money and continue to support him! Trump is exactly what you deserve need!!!

  34. Deserttrek says:

    doug .. your bride hillary was the one who started all of this … another left wing hack posing as a rational person