Let’s be perfectly clear about what happened on Friday morning, the 16th of September, 2016:
Trump did that while shamelessly pimping his new Washington, D.C., hotel — which is, of course, where the event was held — and repeating a bald-faced lie, the wholly debunked claim that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton actually started the so-called birther controversy.
After several veterans, including medal of honor recipients, gave their endorsements of Trump, the candidate returned to the microphone and said this:
“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.”
Trump stood in front of those veterans who lauded his integrity and lied to everyone. Flatly.
Also, Trump didn’t finish anything. Obama had already produced a birth certificate before the transparently racist questions about his place of birth began swirling, fomented in large part by Trump himself.
Obama wound up releasing a long-form version of his birth certificate to get people like Trump to shut up, but even that didn’t work. As recently as earlier this year, Trump was still raising questions about the legitimacy of Obama’s birth certificate.
It’s crazy talk. It’s the stuff of loons and conspiracy theorists. And, until today, Trump has held fast to that “well, we’re not exactly sure what’s going on” nonsense.
And so, after conning the news networks into airing nearly an hour of Trump hotel propaganda and free veterans-for-Trump political advertising, the candidate said the words that nobody really needed to hear: “President Barack Obama was born in the United States — period.”
We already knew that, Mr. Trump. And you saying it three sentences after spouting a complete falsehood about your opponent does nothing to erase your history of attempting to delegitimize the country’s first black president.
You stood in front of veterans who have done more for this nation than you could ever hope to do and you used them to try to back away from one of the most shameful conspiracies you’ve ever touted. You stood in front of those veterans and you lied.
And that is the story about what happened today. Nothing else about that sham event matters.