The origin of the birther controversy goes back to 2011, and centered on the conspiracy theory that President Barack Obama was not actually born in the United States. Donald Trump was a key public figure that fuelled this question. Due to the increasing media attention it was getting the White House did release Obama’s long-form birth certificate in 2011. As expected, it went to show that Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1961.
Race plays a role in the birther movement
Since Obama was the first African-American President of the United States, many have attributed the birther conspiracy theory to being a form of bigotry and racism. On Friday Sen. Bernie Sanders was on the CNN show New Day, and said of the controversy:
Look, this is pathetic. And this goes to the root of what Trump's campaign is about. Let's be clear…it's about bigotry. You remember, let's all remember, that a few years ago, Donald Trump was the leader of the so-called 'birther' movement. And what the birther movement was about was not being critical of Obama. This is democracy, we can criticize Obama. It was delegitimizing the first African-American president. - Sen. Bernie Sanders, CNN interview
Trump campaign addresses the controversy
On Thursday the birther controversy came back into the public consciousness. Donald Trump was doing an interview for The Washington Post and when asked on the issue still would not say that Obama was born in the United States. The Trump campaign was quick to release a statement coming from senior communications adviser Jason Miller after the interview saying:
Having successfully obtained President Obama's birth certificate when others could not, Mr. Trump believes that President Obama was born in the United States. - Jason Miller, Trump campaign statement
These words were still yet to be heard from Donald Trump himself until Friday. At the unveiling of a new hotel of his in Washington, D.C. Trump finally stated:
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. Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again. - Donald Trump
While Trump has now admitted to Obama being born in the United States, he has started fueling another controversy that Clinton was responsible for the start of the birther movement. There is no evidence to back up this claim, and the Clinton campaign has been quick to reject this.