Hillary Clinton says she'd like to see things change, too – besides Trump's mind. Read on.
Trump didn't apologize for spreading the false Birther rumor for years – and during his half-minute concession told two lies.
Trump's full statement, on dropping the Birther allegation at the core of his political involvement:
“Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the Birther controversy. I finished it — I finished it — and you know what I mean,” Trump said.
“President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period," Trump declared. "Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again.”
And then he left the podium, without taking questions.
First, his claim that Clinton "started the Birther controversy" is bogus.
"There is no evidence to support this," said Politifact, the respected fact-checker of political claims.
"Clinton supporters circulated the rumor in the last days of the 2008 Democratic primary and after Clinton had conceded to Obama," the story continued. "But the record does not show Clinton or her campaign ever promoting the Birther theory, let alone starting it.
"We rate Trump’s claim False."
Trump's second lie is that he "ended" the Birther controversy.
He presumably was referring to Obama releasing his Hawaiian long-form birth certificate in 2011, to stop the distracting questioning of his birthplace Trump so relentlessly continued to spread.
In television interviews and on Twitter, Trump kept questioning whether Obama was born in the United States -- into 2016.
As recently as the Thursday before his Friday (Sept. 16) terse concession to reporters that Obama was born in the United States, Trump had refused to confirm his opinion had changed – despite campaign manager Kellyanne Conway saying it had.
Washington Post reporter Robert Costa asked Trump if he had come to believe Obama was indeed born in Hawaii. “I’ll answer that question at the right time," Trump responded. "I just don’t want to answer it yet.”
Trump's switch was read by some observers as an effort to remove a claim that had offended many minorities.
Clinton said Trump's concession wouldn't clear his record.
“For five years, he has led the Birther movement to delegitimize our first black president,” Clinton said. "His campaign was founded on this outrageous lie. There is no erasing it in history."
But it may also have been Clinton, at a Sept. 9 fundraiser, describing "half" of Trump supporters as a "basket of deplorables," that brought the Birther issue back into focus.
That remark got a lot of publicity, and criticism. Clinton apologized the next day. "I regret saying 'half' -- that was wrong," she said in a statement.
But her description of other Trump supporters got little attention, noted New York Times columnist Charles Blow.
Blow reported Clinton's full quote about the "deplorables" -- plus what she said immediately after that:
“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that.
"And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people — now 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric. Now some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”
Then, Clinton, about other Trump backers:
“But the other basket — and I know this because I see friends from all over America here — I see friends from Florida and Georgia and South Carolina and Texas — as well as, you know, New York and California — but that other basket of people are people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for change.
"It doesn’t really even matter where it comes from. They don’t buy everything he says, but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different. They won’t wake up and see their jobs disappear, lose a kid to heroin, feel like they’re in a dead end. Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well.”
Clinton's recognition that a lot of people think things need to change probably won't affect the fact that Trump's expressed opinions, on issues and people, are in a constant state of change.
But it will be interesting to see if that point gets driven home in the last few weeks of the campaign, and particularly in Clinton's three debates with Trump.
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