Polling better than he has since August 20, Donald Trump started Wednesday with the wind at his back. And then: Of all these things—any one of which could be fatal in a more normal political year—the one getting the most attention today is his return to birtherism, or at least his refusal to disavow birtherism because “I don’t want to answer it just yet.”
After Hillary Clinton hit Trump’s birtherism in a speech that night, the Trump campaign tried to clean up the boss’s words.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign first raised this issue to smear then-candidate Barack Obama in her very nasty, failed 2008 campaign for President. This type of vicious and conniving behavior is straight from the Clinton Playbook. As usual, however, Hillary Clinton was too weak to get an answer. Even the MSNBC show Morning Joe admits that it was Clinton’s henchmen who first raised this issue, not Donald J. Trump.
In 2011, Mr. Trump was finally able to bring this ugly incident to its conclusion by successfully compelling President Obama to release his birth certificate. Mr. Trump did a great service to the President and the country by bringing closure to the issue that Hillary Clinton and her team first raised. Inarguably, Donald J. Trump is a closer. Having successfully obtained President Obama’s birth certificate when others could not, Mr. Trump believes that President Obama was born in the United States.
Of course, as Mother Jones points out, every word of that is a lie.
Hillary Clinton did not allege that the president was born in Kenya. Trump did not compel Obama to release his birth certificate “when others had not”—Obama had already released a copy of his birth certificate, but critics, including Trump, believed it to be a fake. So Obama released a longer birth certificate in 2011—but that release did not bring “closure” to the issue. Instead, Trump called it a forgery, citing “Israeli science,” and announced that he was sending a team of investigators to Hawaii to uncover the truth. He suggested that a Hawaiian health official who knew of the cover-up had died in suspicious circumstances.
And here are some other examples of Trump engaging in birtherism well after he concluded his “great service” to America.
The thing about being taken seriously as a presidential candidate—which heretofore hasn’t really happened—is that you shouldn’t get to bullshit us unchecked, especially when the bullshitting regards a racist movement you led that convinced nearly half of Republicans that the first African American president is illegitimate.
Trump, meanwhile, seems to think this is all a game.
A reminder: as per usual, Trump is lying. Hillary had nothing to do with birtherism.
Another reminder: this is a major-party candidate for president with about a 40 percent chance of winning. Unreal.
On to the rest of the morning’s news.
1. Pat McCrory is very upset about HB 2 politics, guys.
Gov. Pat McCrory on Thursday blamed politics for House Bill 2 fallout that has cost Charlotte and other North Carolina cities high-profile college games, citing the state’s pivotal role in the presidential election.
The Republican made the comments in a speech in Charlotte to the Hood Hargett group of business and civic leaders, just one day after the Atlantic Coast Conference pulled this year’s football title game from Charlotte amid the ongoing firestorm over North Carolina’s HB2. And on Monday, the NCAA said it would yank seven events from the state because of the law.
As he has done in the past, McCrory said boycotts were being inconsistently applied to the state, noting that the NCAA held its men’s basketball championship in Houston this spring even though that city voted down an anti-discrimination ordinance.
“I’ve got to assume it’s politics because this is the No. 1 state in the presidential campaign, this is the No. 1 gubernatorial race in the United States of America,” McCrory said. “I can’t prove that, but why would they not be doing this in Texas right now?”
In its statement last week, the NCAA answered that question. Pat just wasn’t paying attention.
In a statement posted on Twitter, the NCAA put the lie to McCrory’s oft-stated contention that North Carolina’s anti-LGBTQ law is no worse than anyone else’s anti-LGBTQ law: “The Board of Governors views North Carolina differently from states that have similar laws for three reasons: North Carolina laws invalidate any local law that treats sexual orientation as a protected class …. North Carolina has the only statewide law that makes it unlawful to use a restroom different than the gender on one’s birth certificate, regardless of gender identity. [And] North Carolina provides legal protections to government officials to refuse services to the LGBT community.”
Moreover, the NCAA pointed out, five states ban official travel to North Carolina—which could include coaches and student-athletes. The message was clear: as long as HB 2 exists, the NCAA will take its business elsewhere.
A handful of Republican lawmakers have begun calling for changes to North Carolina’s House Bill 2, days after the NCAA and Atlantic Coast Conference pulled major sports events from the state in response to the LGBT law.
Rep. Gary Pendleton of Raleigh said Thursday he’d like to see a special legislative session within weeks to repeal parts of HB2. He joins Sen. Tamara Barringer of Cary and Sen. Rick Gunn of Burlington, who made similar statements this week.
“I think we ought to go back into session for a day or two and definitely revisit it,” Pendleton told The News & Observer, adding that any changes still must prevent men from entering women’s bathrooms. “I wouldn’t vote to repeal it unless we passed a law that covered the safety of bathrooms and showers and all that.”
Pendleton says he’s talked to other Republican lawmakers who’d support revising HB2, but he’s not sure they’d form a majority of the legislature.
“Even if it doesn’t pass, at least the people will know that a certain group of people tried,” Pendleton said, adding that some Republicans likely would still vote against any changes. “Some people are so far out there on the right that they don’t care.”
The “bathrooms and showers and all that” thing is patently ridiculous, but hey, progress.
3. A Durham County jail official calls complaints “overblown distorted lies.”
Thursday’s Durham Human Relations Commission forum was the platform for Paige and dozens of community activists to voice their concerns about conditions inside the jail, including food quality, unclean jail cells and the high cost of some goods.
Major Paul Martin with the Durham County Detention center defended his jail and its corrections officers.
“A lot of the things that we’re hearing are overblown and distorted,” he said. “I am going to defend us because I need to. This is a bunch of overblown distorted lies that are not an accurate reflection of the jail and I’m not going to sit here and let people get away with it.”
Others on the panel disagreed with Martin’s stance.