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Donald Trump, who led a years-long movement to prove President Barack Obama was born in Kenya and thus ineligible to be president, abandoned that position in a speech in Washington Sept. 16, 2016.
"Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy," Trump said. "I finished it. I finished it. You know what I mean. President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period. Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again."
At PolitiFact, our Flip-O-Meter judges whether someone has been consistent on an issue. The rating is not making a value judgment. Indeed, voters often like politicians who are flexible and have the ability to compromise or adapt their positions to the wishes of constituents. Still, accusations of shifting positions are so common in politics that it is valuable to have us provide an analysis of a shift and rate the amount of change.
Trump previously took credit for Obama releasing his long-form birth certificate and pledged to donate $5 million to charity if Obama released his passport records.
"A book publisher came out three days ago and said that in his written synopsis of his book, he said he was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia. His mother never spent a day in the hospital," Trump said in 2012.
"His grandmother in Kenya said, 'Oh no, he was born in Kenya and I was there and I witnessed the birth.' Now, she's on tape and I think that tape's going to be produced fairly soon ...The grandmother in Kenya is on record saying he was born in Kenya," Trump said, incorrectly, in 2011.
Trump made an identical false claim in a 2011 Today show interview: "His grandmother in Kenya said he was born in Kenya and she was there and witnessed the birth, okay?"
In 2015, he dodged a question of where Obama was born in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
When Cooper asked directly if Trump believed Obama was born in the United States, Trump responded, "I don't know."
"I really don't know. I mean, I don't know why he wouldn't release his records. But you know, honestly, I don't want to get in it," Trump said.
"I don’t talk about that anymore," Trump told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews in December 2015. He said "he didn’t want to answer the question."
As recently as Sept. 15, 2016, Trump would not acknowledge Obama’s birthplace, declining to address the matter when asked by the Washington Post, according to the Associated Press.
"I’ll answer that question at the right time," Trump said. "I just don’t want to answer it yet."
He talked more about it on Sept. 16, 2016, switching his long-held position.
His reversal rates Full Flop.
Trump talking to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews in December 2015
ABC News, "Donald Trump's History of Raising Birther Questions About President Obama," September 2015
PolitiFact, "Trump said Obama's grandmother caught on tape saying she witnessed his birth in Kenya," April 7, 2011
Politico, "Trump: Obama born in Kenya," May 25, 2012
Donald Trump on YouTube, 2012
Trump remarks in Washington, Sept. 16, 2016
Washington Post, "Trump mum while campaign says he believes Obama born in US," Sept. 16, 2016
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