Mike Pence Denies Trump's 'Birther' Theory: President Obama 'Was Born in Hawaii'

The GOP VP candidate addressed Donald Trump's prior claims.

ByInes De La Cuetara and Adam Kelsey
September 07, 2016, 5:49 PM

SAN DIEGO -- Donald Trump's running mate, Mike Pence, threw cold water on the real estate mogul's longtime espousal of "birtherism" -- the theory that President Obama was not born in the United States.

Speaking to a group of reporters aboard his plane this afternoon, Pence said: "I believe Barack Obama was born in Hawaii.

"I accept his birthplace."

The comments come as Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton stepped up attacks on Trump's "birther" past.

Two weeks ago during a campaign stop in Nevada, Clinton reminded her audience of the businessman's earlier forays into political attacks during Obama's reelection campaign in 2012.

"Let’s not forget that Trump first gained political prominence leading the charge for the so-called 'birthers,'" said Clinton. "He promoted the racist lie that President Obama is not really an American citizen – part of a sustained effort to delegitimize America’s first black president."

Trump was one of the leading voices supporting the since-discredited theory that Obama was not eligible for the presidency because he was not a natural-born citizen.

Claims that Obama was born in Kenya grew so strong in 2011 that the White House released Obama's long-form birth certificate, confirming his Hawaiian nativity.

In an August 2013 interview with ABC News' Jonathan Karl -- more than two years after the president's birth certificate was released -- Trump still cast doubt on whether Obama was born in the U.S.

"Well I don’t know. Was it a birth certificate? You tell me. Some people say that was not his birth certificate," he said at the time. "I’m saying I don’t know. Nobody knows. And you don’t know either, Jonathan. You’re a smart guy. You don’t know either."

Since then he has remained largely silent on the issue, telling Fox News' Bill O'Reilly yesterday "I don’t even talk about it anymore, Bill, because I just don’t bother talking about it."

Use of Trump's stance in attacks by the Clinton campaign has resulted in renewed interest in the birther controversy. Trump was asked if he regretted becoming a part of the birther movement in two separate interviews with local Philadelphia TV station WPVI and Fox News this week.

Earlier Wednesday, Trump surrogate Dr. Ben Carson told CNN that he believes Trump should apologize for his prior actions.

"Let’s get all of the hate and rancor out of the way so that we can actually discuss the issues,” said Carson.

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