Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump apparently has not abandoned his “birther” position, refusing to say he believes President Barack Obama was born in the United States.
Obama released his long-form birth certificate in April 2011 to quell persistent false assertions by right-wing conspiracy theorists he was born in Kenya. Obama was born in Hawaii, Aug. 4, 1961.
Trump was one of the leading voices demanding the birth certificate and said he would dispatch private investigators to Hawaii to dig up evidence Obama was born elsewhere. Obama’s father was Kenyan but his mother was from Wichita, Kansas. He was born at Kapi'olani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital in Honolulu.
In an interview with the Washington Post published late Thursday, Trump said he would address the question of Obama’s birth “at the right time.”
“I just don’t want to answer it yet,” he said in the interview conducted late Wednesday as his plane idled on the runway in Canton, Ohio.
Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway told CNN earlier this month the real estate mogul now believes Obama was born in the United States. Asked whether Conway was correct, Trump told the Post: “She’s allowed to speak what she thinks. … I want to focus on other things.”
He added: “I don’t talk about it anymore.”
Trump said he doesn’t think his past comments on the “birther” controversy will hurt him with African-American voters, saying his standing has “come up … like a rocket ship.”
During the primary campaign, Trump gave the "birther" controversy a new spin, questioning whether Ted Cruz was eligible to run for president because he was born in Canada. Cruz's mother was a U.S. citizen.
As recently as July 2015, Trump said he still wasn’t sure whether Obama was born in the United States, and claimed Hillary Clinton and John McCain also shared his skepticism.
Sam Nunberg, a former Trump adviser, told the New York Times Trump looked at the “birther” issue as a means of testing whether he could get any political traction. Trump’s standing in polls went up the more he questioned Obama’s legitimacy in office.