Media now in full-on panic, trying to resurrect ‘birther’ issue to stop Trump
When you follow all the encouraging poll news we gave you yesterday with this, and you realize that if even Michigan is now in play, Hillary is in gigantic trouble . . . you had to know it was coming.
The media are not about to just sit back and get ready to write the story of the election of Donald J. Trump as president of the United States. No way. No how. No never. With all their dreams slipping away, they’re going to remember: Wait. Elections are decided by our campaign narratives! We can stop this! We just have to change the narrative! What can we use? What would send Trump staggering backward? Right! Of course! That’s it! That stupid birth certificate thing! Get me copy, Kent!
And just like that, the Washington Post decides to randomly get in Trump’s face and ask him if he believes Barack Obama is the title of a vastly overrated Bruce Springsteen song. Why? Because it’s suddenly become relevant in the race, when no one has mentioned it the entire campaign? Of course not. They ask him because they think they can damage him by doing so.
And if they think they’re scoring points with it, they’ll keep right on it until it becomes next week’s narrative of the week. And at the moment, I think they do believe they’re scoring:
When asked whether his campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, was accurate when she said recently that he now believes Obama was born in this country, Trump responded: “It’s okay. She’s allowed to speak what she thinks. I want to focus on jobs. I want to focus on other things.”
He added: “I don’t talk about it anymore. The reason I don’t is because then everyone is going to be talking about it as opposed to jobs, the military, the vets, security.”
Late Thursday, campaign spokesman Jason Miller said in a statement that Trump no longer doubted Obama’s birth in Hawaii and had done “a great service to the President and the country” by prompting Obama to release his long-form birth certificate in 2011. But Miller also repeated the widely debunked claim that Clinton and her campaign had questioned Obama’s birthplace in 2008, which is false.
Miller is among three Trump associates who have recently claimed a change of heart, but the candidate has yet to say so himself. Trump has repeatedly raised questions about Obama’s heritage over the past five years.
You see the game they’re playing here, right? They’ve decided this is going to be a big story in the coming week no matter what Trump and his campaign do. If the campaign says Trump now believes Obama was born in the U.S., they’ll make a big story of the fact that the campaign says it but Trump personally doesn’t. If Trump says he believes it, then they’ll hound him about his “flip-flop.” And if Trump says anything to suggest he still thinks Obama was not born in the U.S., then the “birther” issue becomes the defining issue of the campaign.
Trump’s instincts are pretty good here in not taking the bait, because if the campaign says he’s off the birther thing and Trump himself focuses on actually relevant issues, you pretty well take the air out of the story in a day or two. We told you our position. That’s it. There’s nothing more to be said. You can only write Trump-won’t-say-it-personally stories for so long because there’s nowhere left to go with the story.
That said, Trump made his own problem here by giving credence to the birther notion in the first place, although he did so years before his presidential campaign. It was always a silly story, and my own suspicion is that Trump didn’t really believe the notion himself but was just enjoying himself in bomb-thrower mode at the time. He probably never anticipated he would ever be the Republican nominee for the presidency, and that his dalliance with absurdity would be used against him by a panicky media suddenly running out of ways to prevent him from winning…. MORE!!!!!