Trump Surrogates Push Narrative That Clinton Started 'Birtherism'

The GOP candidate's supporters pushed the idea in interviews Sunday.

On CBS News’ Face the Nation on Sunday, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway pushed the claim that so-called "birtherism" began with the Clinton 2008 campaign by invoking the words of former Clinton campaign manager Patti Sollis Doyle.

“Even Patti Solis Doyle, who was Hillary Clinton's campaign manager in 2008 ... until she was fired by Hillary Clinton, admitted on Friday ... that she said, yes, these are her words: There was a volunteer in Iowa who was pushing this,” Conway said.

Penn wrote a memo in 2007 saying that Obama’s foreign background could present a weakness for him and that Clinton should emphasize her middle-class Midwestern upbringing.

"His roots to American values and culture are at best limited," the memo says. "I cannot imagine America electing a president during a time of war who is not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and values."

But it does not say that Obama was foreign-born.

Similarly, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus in an interview on "Face the Nation" said he thinks the "birther" movement "was something that got started in the 2008 presidential campaign ... By the preponderance of evidence before us, Hillary Clinton, or her campaign, were definitely involved in this issue."

Trump himself gave a short statement on Friday morning, at an event under the glittering chandeliers of his newest hotel, in an attempt to reverse his long-held assertion that there is uncertainty surrounding the location of President Obama's birth.

“Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it. I finished it. You know what I mean. President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period,” the Republican presidential nominee said.

Trump's statement Friday came just a day after he refused to acknowledge to the Washington Post that Obama was born in the U.S. And for years, Trump had helped perpetuate conspiracy theories about whether the first black president is wholly American and in fact born in Hawaii -- as his public birth certificate says, an attack many, including Clinton, have said is racially charged.

In an August 2013 interview with ABC News' Jon Karl, for example, Trump stood behind his push to reveal Obama's "true birth status."

Karl asked, "You don't acknowledge that you went overboard on this whole birther stuff?"

Trump replied, "Actually, I think it made me very popular, if you want to know the truth, OK? So I do think I know what I'm doing."

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