Donald Trump on Friday finally conceded that President Barack Obama was born in the United States and falsely blamed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for starting rumors about the president’s citizenship.
The admission was a major reversal for the Republican nominee, who for years has been the chief proponent of the so-called "birther" conspiracy theory.
"President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period," Trump said at the event at his new hotel in Washington, D.C. "Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again."
The Republican presidential candidate originally billed the event as a “major announcement,” but it turned into an advertisement for his new hotel and an endorsement session by medal of honor recipients. Nearly thirty minutes into the event, he made his statement regarding Obama’s birthplace then abruptly walked off stage, ignoring questions by the press.
In acknowledging that the president was born in the U.S., Trump, however, falsely claimed that his rival, Hillary Clinton, was the original source of the theory.
"Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it, I finished it," Trump said. "You know what I mean."
Just one day prior, Trump on Thursday had refused to say to the Washington Post whether the president was born in the United States. That seemed to reinsert the issue into the political debate.
"We know who Donald is. For five years, he has led the birther movement to delegitimize our first black president," Clinton said at the Black Woman's Agenda symposium in Washington, D.C., on Friday. "His campaign was founded on this outrageous lie. There is no erasing it in history."
President Obama was asked about it as well Friday morning.
"I was pretty confident about where I was born," Obama said, adding that he's "not that shocked" and is a "fairly typical" topic for this campaign.
Trump's prodding about Obama's birthplace resulted in the president releasing his birth certificate, but that didn't stop Trump from doubting the president's origins.
Trump has also questioned Obama's religion, saying on "Meet the Press" last September that, when it comes to America electing a Muslim president, "some people have said it already happened."