In speaking to reporters today, Donald Trump declined to say whether he believes President Obama was born in the United States. "I don't talk about it," said the Republican candidate, according to NBC News.
Trump was one of the first national figures to question Obama’s birth data in 2008 when the Illinois senator was in the midst of his hope and change campaign. During this presidential cycle, however, he has remained silent on the issue.
Trump has, in recent week, begun to address black Americans. While neither John McCain nor Mitt Romney visited Detroit during their presidential campaigns, Trump has made two visits so far. In his second visit, Trump addressed a congregation at a black church in Detroit where he spelled out his understanding of racial discrimination sensed by black Americans, while also describing his ambition to turn the city into the "economic envy of the world." During his remarks, he also promised to visit Flint: the stricken city north of Detroit where government bungling brought about the poisoning of the city's drinking water with toxic levels of lead.
In another visit to Michigan, Trump addressed a largely white congregation but directed remarks to black voters when he said, "What the hell do you have to lose?,” after describing the failing schools, poverty, unemployment, and gun violence in metropolitan areas. Black voters, nonetheless, are still trending towards Democat Hillary Clinton. In 2008, Detroiters and Michiganders went heavily for Obama.
Yesterday on CNN's "State of the Union," host Jake Tapper sought to engage Rudy Giuliani on the "birtherism" question. Saying that black voters remain "troubled" by Trump's previous insistence that Obama is not a natural-born citizen, and therefore is an illegitimate president. Giuliani sought to take the conversation back to Hillary Clinton. Giuliani, a former New York City mayor is likely referring to when some of Clinton supporters in 2008 circulated false rumors about the place of Obama’s birth.
Tapper said that rumors about Obama's birthplace were not started by Clinton by “her herself,” but by “people around her.” Tapper and Giuliani may have been referring to a photograph of Obama wearing traditional African clothing that circulated on the internet in 2008, which was circulated by state-level Clinton volunteers before it was denounced by the campaign and the candidate. Giuliani continued, “They maybe have a faulty memory there, as to where that issue first came from.”
In February 2015, Tapper recalled, Trump reportedly insisted that Obama had faked his birth certificate. Referring to Trump's speech at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Tapper said Trump left not doubt that he believed that Obama's eligibility to serve in the presidency was in doubt. He asked Giuliani if Trump should apologize for his position on Obama's birth in order to appeal to black voters. In response, Giuliani said, “You know, if everybody apologized for all the things they said in politics, all we’d be doing on television shows is apologizing. Maybe a lot of the Democrats should apologize for calling Donald Trump a racist, calling him all kinds of terrible names, it gets a little silly.”
Explaining Trump's messaging directed at black voters, Giuliani said, that it is not “the message of left-wing Democratic politics” and that this is the first time “since Jack Kemp, and me” that a Republican had “gone into minority poor communities” to criticize Democratic policies.