Donald Trump finally did it, as underwhelming and unconvincing as it was: he's finally publicly admitted that President Obama was born in the United States, five years after launching his political profile entirely on the strength of racist birther conspiracy theories. It'd be kind of funny, if it weren't so thoroughly offensive and sad. And this tweet about Trump's birther comments shows just how absurd all of this is.
After Trump said the following words, finally and for the very first time ― "President Obama was born in the United States" ― countless outlets picked up the news, with blaring headlines proclaiming that Trump had at long last changed course on his oldest (and one of his most odious) positions.
That's what spurred former U.S. Ambassador to Russia and current Stanford professor Michael McFaul to sent out the following tweet, highlighting the absurdity both of Trump's political profile ― it all sprung from birtherism back in 2011, remember ― and the kind of general election campaign that's been foisted upon the American public.
Basically, in 2016, the country had to wait five years for one of its major party nominees to finally admit that the first black president wasn't secretly ineligible to serve.
For the record, Trump didn't express so much as a shred of contrition; rather, he falsely blamed the controversy on Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign, something his surrogates have been doing for weeks. The "Hillary started birtherism" claim has been conclusively debunked for a while now, but faced with one of his original sin as a political figure, Trump has plainly decided to try to muddy the waters.
The only question is whether it will work, and the most reasonable answer is probably not. Trump's embrace of birtherism is undoubtedly one of his biggest offenses against prospective black voters, but it's far from the only one. And, more to the point, simply trying to ignore years of conspiracy theories without so much as an apology, especially while trying to turn it into a political attack on Clinton, is likely going to prove problematic for his campaign. Clinton's Twitter account was none too charmed, suffice to say.
However, that said, at least Trump has finally reconciled himself with his campaign's official line. In recent days, the Trump campaign insisted that Trump had abandoned birtherism, although just one day prior to finally making the announcement, he was still casting doubt on the validity of Obama's birth certificate. Of course, simply squaring yourself with your own campaign's rhetoric isn't all that impressive, but it's probably Team Trump's only positive takeaway from this elaborate escapade.