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Campaign says, Trump Believes Obama was Born in US

Trump and Clinton both held campaign events on Thursday, with Clinton returning to the trail in front of a small crowd on a North Carolina college, and Trump appearing on television to discuss his medical history

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Laconia Middle School, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016. Source: VOA
  • The US Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump’s campaign office in a statement, praised Trump for his dedication to prove President Obama’s citizenship and bringing closure to the issue
  • Trump, who has always raised questions against the Obama administration in their 8-year term, is not the only one, Hillary Clinton, also raised an issue on this in her failed 2008 campaign for president
  • Clinton has, in the past, had denied the claims that it was her campaign that started the rumors about Obama’s birthplace

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump – or, at least his campaign – admitted Thursday he believed President Barack Obama was actually born in the United States, after years of questioning the president’s citizenship.

The Trump campaign, in a statement, credited Trump with forcing Obama to release his birth certificate and bringing closure to an issue he helped bring into the spotlight over the course of Obama’s presidency.

“Inarguably, Donald J. Trump is a closer,” spokesman Jason Miller said. “Having successfully obtained President Obama’s birth certificate when others could not, Mr. Trump believes that President Obama was born in the United States.”

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Earlier in the day Thursday, Hillary Clinton, at her first campaign event since she was diagnosed with pneumonia and forced to leave a September 11 memorial event Sunday with health issues, tore into Trump for his support of the so-called “birther movement.”

She referenced a Washington Post story published Thursday in which Trump refused to say whether he believes Obama was born in America and said he does not talk about the issue anymore.

Clinton urged voters to “conclusively” stop Trump, and what she calls his bigotry, in the November election.

While Trump has repeatedly questioned the validity of Obama’s presidency over the past eight years and fed into conspiracy theories over the authenticity of his birth certificate, Miller blamed Clinton for raising the issue in the first place.

“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.”

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The Trump statement pointed to a 2007 Clinton campaign memo in which chief strategist Mark Penn said Obama had a “lack of American roots” and not “fundamentally American in his thinking and values” as proof of Clinton’s role in the birther movement.

Clinton responded to Trump on Twitter by saying, “President Obama’s successor cannot and will not be the man who led the racist birther movement. Period.”

Clinton has, in the past, denied claims that her campaign started the rumors about Obama’s birthplace.

Dueling campaign events

Trump and Clinton held competing for campaign events Thursday, with Clinton returning to the trail in front of a small crowd on a North Carolina college campus, and Trump appearing on television to discuss his medical history.

“It’s great to be back,” Clinton told an audience in Greensboro, North Carolina. She admitted that she tried to “power through” her illness before realizing it did not work and that she needed to stay home and rest.

“I’m not great at taking it easy even under ordinary circumstances. But with just two months to go before election day, sitting at home was pretty much the last place I wanted to be.”

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But Clinton said she considers herself lucky to be able to afford time off if she gets sick. She said millions of Americans have no backup if they fall ill and are just one paycheck away from losing their homes or facing other catastrophes.

She said she is running for president to make life better for children and their families.

“Every child, no matter who they are, what they look like or who they love is part of the American dream now and way into the future. Let that be our message. Let that be our mission.”

Later, Clinton appeared before the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute in Washington, saying she would send Congress comprehensive immigration reform within her first 100 days in office. She said her plan would include a path toward citizenship for many undocumented immigrants.

Meanwhile, Trump appeared on a television talk show hosted by Dr. Mehmet Oz Thursday and presented a letter from his doctors proclaiming him to be healthy after he took a physical exam last week.

“We are pleased to disclose all of the test results which show that Mr. Trump is in excellent health,” the campaign said, “and has the stamina to endure — uninterrupted — the rigors of a punishing and unprecedented presidential campaign and, more importantly, the singularly demanding job of president of the United States.”

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Trump, who is known to be fond of fast food, admitted to Oz that he takes drugs to treat high cholesterol.

He told the doctor that just like many other Americans, he wants to lose weight. Trump is 1.9 meters tall, (6 foot 3 inches) and weighs 107 kilograms (236 pounds). He is overweight by medical standards.

But it is Trump who has suggested Hillary Clinton does not have the strength and stamina to be president.

Clinton mocked the way Trump disclosed his medical condition by appearing on a daytime TV talk show, calling him a “showman.”

If the 70-year-old Trump wins the November 8 election, he would be the oldest to be elected U.S. president, while Clinton would be the second oldest. She turns 69 on October 26.

A new New York Times/CBS News poll of likely voters shows Clinton and Trump neck-and-neck at 42 percent in a four-way race with Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

Trump has been steadily gaining ground on Clinton in the polls recently, and RealClearPolitics polling averages show Trump edging out Clinton in the key political battleground states of Florida and Ohio. (VOA)

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  • Anubhuti Gupta

    US elections this year are taking more horrendous turns by the day. The fact that both of these candidates are finally standing in elections is still unbelievable,

Next Story

Meet Kelly Oliveira, Brazilian By Birth But ‘American’ By Heart

Embarking on a 'new journey'

Kelly Oliveira reacts after becoming a U.S. Citizen during a naturalization ceremony in Baltimore, Maryland.
Kelly Oliveira reacts after becoming a U.S. Citizen during a naturalization ceremony in Baltimore, Maryland. VOA

When Brazilian native Kelly Oliveira signed up for the U.S. Army through a program that offered her citizenship for her service, she thought she had it made.

But it took two years for the army to work through the added background checks. During that time she struggled to remain legal.

Oliveira finally made it through the process and was sworn in as a citizen last week.

She took the oath on a day designated to honor the U.S. flag, a group of 28 people from 18 countries became American citizens at the historic house where the flag that inspired the national anthem was made.

“I learned to love this country that I adopted as my own. … I’ve always [thought] of myself as an American by heart,” she said.

But it took 13 years to make it official. On a day designated to honor the U.S. flag, a group of 28 people, including Oliveira, from 18 countries became American citizens at the historic house where the flag that inspired the national anthem was made.

“It’s been a long journey. … Of course there were moments that I was thinking ‘Should I continue waiting?’” she said.

Oliveira’s wait was due to changes in a military program called Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest program, or MAVNI reported on by VOAlast December. It was launched in 2009 to bring immigrants with medical or language skills into the armed services.

Kelly Oliveira examines paperwork before her naturalization ceremony in Baltimore, Maryland.
Kelly Oliveira examines paperwork before her naturalization ceremony in Baltimore, Maryland. VOA

She enlisted in the Army in March 2016 under MAVNI, which promised her citizenship in exchange for service.

Enlisting for status

Oliveira had tried other ways to stay legal. But nothing worked.

“I went to school and I had my OPT, and I got a teaching position job as a preschool teacher,” Oliveira said.

The OPT or Optional Practical Training allows international students with an F-1 visa to work in the U.S. for up to one year in a field related to their studies. She tried to get a work visa through the schools where she was employed at the time.

“Unfortunately the school where I was working at; they could not [sponsor] me,” she said.

That’s when she entered the MAVNI program. But on June 2016, the program was shut down, which affected Oliveira’s enlistment.

The U.S. government retroactively required background checks on anyone who had enlisted in the military through the MAVNI program, including anyone who was currently serving or waiting to be shipped to basic training.

For Oliveira that meant a two-year wait. She went to training drills and struggled to stay legal.

Those who witnessed her journey said it was tough. “I don’t think I’d be able to do it because it’s, I mean, it’s been a, it’s been a long journey. It’s been a struggle and it’s, it’s been like a nightmare,” Lauren Schroeder, a D.C. native who has been friends with Oliveira for many years, told VOA.

“I mean the down was the fact that it took so long. And I guess the up is that she was able to join the military and get a citizenship that way. So finally, it happened,” Schroeder said.

Kelly Oliveira, during her naturalization ceremony in Baltimore, Maryland
Kelly Oliveira, during her naturalization ceremony in Baltimore, Maryland, VOA

Embarking on a ‘new journey’

Margaret Stock, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who created the MAVNI program, told VOA she is not surprised by Oliveira’s successful story.

“That’s what’s supposed to happen. They’re eligible for citizenship and they’re supposed to be able to get it quickly,” Stock said.

But the retired Army lieutenant colonel said, even though there are stories like Oliveira’s, lots of recruits are still falling out of status due to the additional checks.

“So people are timing out and they can’t ship out to basic training until the [U.S. government] completes all these background checks,” she said.

In a previous interview with VOA, Stock said everyone who wants to serve in the military has to go through background checks but the government was already doing a lot more background checking on the MAVNIs.

“They are the most checked group of people that entered the U.S. military,” Stock said adding this is an investigation normally done on someone getting top-secret clearance with the U.S. government.

On Flag Day, Oliveira signed the papers. She checked in with immigration officials. Then the ceremony started.

Also read: Indian-American Diaspora Plays an Important Role in Country’s Development

“Sky’s the limit for me now it’s just the beginning of my new journey. Now I’m going to basic training in a couple of months, and I’m very excited about that,” Oliveira said. (VOA)