Trump embroiled again in debate over Obama’s citizenship

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks to the Economic Club of New York luncheon in Manhattan, New York, U.S., September 15, 2016.

Mike Segar/REUTERS

Last Updated Sep 16, 2016 7:05 AM EDT

The presidential race is a dead heat.

A CBS News/New York Times poll shows Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are tied among voters when the two third party candidates are included. A Fox News poll released Thursday night shows Clinton leading Trump by just one point in a race with third-party candidates.
 
Instead of capitalizing on his momentum, Trump is again embroiled in a debate over President Obama’s citizenship.

For years Trump was the celebrity face of the so-called “birther movement,” financing efforts to prove  President Obama was born outside the U.S, reports CBS News correspondent Major Garrett. In recent months, Trump has been evasive on the subject.  

Pressed again on the issue Wednesday, Trump told the Washington Post: “I’ll answer that question at the right time. I just don’t want to answer it yet.”

That evasion raised questions about whether Trump stands by the position he held publicly for years.

Trying to tamp down speculation and political controversy, Trump’s campaign put out a statement -- not from Trump himself but from communications adviser Jason Miller -- praising Trump for bringing “this ugly incident to its conclusion” in 2011 “by successfully compelling President Obama to release his birth certificate.”
  
But the public release of the president’s long-form birth certificate didn’t quiet Trump.
 
“He produced that long-form certificate,” a reporter said in a 2014 interview.

“Well, a lot of people don’t agree with you. And a lot of people feel it wasn’t a proper certificate,” Trump responded.
 
He continued to call the document a “fraud” on Twitter for years and insisted Mr. Obama was “born in Kenya.”
 
At a conservative political conference, CPAC, in 2015, Trump said he doesn’t “know where [Mr. Obama] was born,” and again questioned the president’s citizenship and falsely tried to pin the rumor on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign.
 
“Hillary Clinton wanted his birth certificate. Hillary is a birther. … Whether or not that was a real certificate, because a lot of people question it, I certainly question it,” Trump said at the conference.
 
In the 2016 Republican primary season, Trump memorably used the birther issue again, that time against rival Ted Cruz.
 
“Wasn’t born in this country. That’s a big problem. It’s a huge overhang. Nobody knows, actually nobody knows and they’re looking right now,” Trump said. “They’re trying to figure it out.”

Coincidentally, Jason Miller, who now says Trump believes the president was born in the United States, worked for Ted Cruz in the primary. It also should be noted that in 2011 Trump said he may release his tax returns when Mr. Obama released his birth certificate.

We have the president’s birth certificate, but still no Trump tax returns.