Fox hosts claimed that after five years pushing the racist birther conspiracy theory, Trump admitting Obama was born in the United States “put to rest” Trump’s history of birtherism.
Trump Claims Birtherism Is Over: “Hillary Clinton And Her Campaign Of 2008 Started The Birther Controversy. I Finished It.”
Trump: Clinton “Started The Birther Controversy. I Finished It.” At a press event inside his newly constructed Washington, D.C., hotel, Donald Trump claimed that Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential primary campaign “started the birther controversy” but that Trump “finished it”:
DONALD TRUMP: Now, not to mention her in the same breath but Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it. I finished it. You know what I mean. President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period. Now, we all want to get back to making America strong and great again. Thank you, thank you very much. [Fox News, Happening Now, 9/16/16]
Fox News Rushes To Claim Trump “Fixed” His Birther Issue
Eric Bolling On Trump Birtherism: He “Fixed It Today” And “Put It To Rest” With A “20-Second Response.” Fox host Eric Bolling claimed that although Trump failed to put his birtherism issue to rest in a Washington Post interview, Trump “fixed it today”with a “20-second response”:
ERIC BOLLING (CO-HOST): Fast forward to now, Washington Post tries to corner Donald Trump, asks him about it. He probably could have said -- put it to rest right away during that interview, but he didn't for whatever reason. But fixed it today with the 20-second response saying, “Look, this is done, let's move on.” Bottom line, she's on the ropes. The deplorables comment followed by her health questions, her numbers are tanking right now. [Fox News, The Five, 9/16/16]
Fox’s Chris Wallace Says Trump Cut Off Birther Questions “In Less Than 24 Hours.” Fox host Chris Wallace said that Trump’s birtherism issue was “different” from previous issues. Wallace said that compared to previous incidents attacking a Gold Star family and attacking a judge’s Hispanic heritage, where Trump would “keep it going for a while,” Trump ended his birtherism issue “in less than 24 hours”:
SHEPARD SMITH (HOST): Do the polls give you an indication of when and why that happened? Was it this last few days of Clinton absence during illness? Is there something specific in the internals there?
CHRIS WALLACE: Not so much, that but certainly in the timing, and it proceeds these last few days and the whole pneumonia incident. I think there are two issues. On the Trump positive side, over the last month -- since he got this new campaign team -- he's been a better candidate. I don't know if he is listening to them, or he simply saw the polls and realized he was going to lose if he didn't clean up his act. But he has been more disciplined, he sticks more to teleprompter, he's been more policy-oriented just in the last week on his child care plan --
SMITH: Who do you think is responsible for that? There's no way to know?
WALLACE: Well, I mean, I'm not inside to know. My guess is it's a combination, one, of the new team and that would be Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon, and also the fact that they have reportedly shown in the polls that indicated if you continue on the path you're on you're going to lose and lose big. We know Trump doesn't like that. Now, that's the positive side for Trump. The negative side for Clinton is it has really been just a steady drumbeat on the emails, the 15,000 new ones from the FBI, the cozy relationship between the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton State Department, and then, of course, the health incident. And, I think, less the health than the failure of transparency. The fact that she didn't come clean about it for a few days.
SMITH: And would you, given your history in this business, would you guess that today would have any impact on polls that are I'm sure being commissioned now?
WALLACE: You're talking about the birther incident?
WALLACE: Yeah. I don't know. The answer is I don't know. I will say this, and this is different for Trump than a lot of the others have been. There's no question this was a mistake on his part to leave this open. I mean, it's damaging. You can tell by how quickly the campaign rolled it back. What's different is that so often in the past when Trump would get into one these things like the fight with the gold-star family after the Democratic convention or going after the Mexican-American judge who was handling the Trump University case, he would keep it going for a while, and he would refuse to back off. That would feed the flame, if you will. This one in less than 24 hours, he cut it off, he said Obama was born in America, period. So that's different, and may in fact help him limit the political damage. [Fox News, Shepard Smith Reporting, 9/16/16]
Brit Hume: Trump “Formally Abandoned His Birtherism.” Fox host Brit Hume contextualized new poll results showing the margin between Clinton and Trump voters narrowing by claiming Trump “formally abandoned his birtherism”:
BRIT HUME (HOST): On a day when Donald Trump formally abandoned his birtherism and his critics attacked him as a racist, he continued to climb in the polls. [Fox News, On The Record with Brit Hume, 9/16/16]
Bill O’Reilly: Obama’s Comments On Trump’s Birtherism Helped Him Get Issue “Off The Table.” Host Bill O’Reilly claimed that when President Obama told reporters he wish the election would reflect “more serious issues,” Obama helped get Trump’s birtherism issue “off the table”:
BILL O’REILLY (HOST): Today in Washington, some generals endorsed Trump, concentrating on national security and the military. In that exposition, Trump spoke for less than 30 seconds dealing with the birther issue.
Ironically, just before Trump said that -- just before -- President Obama actually helped him out, unwittingly.
BARACK OBAMA: We got other business to attend to. I was pretty confident about where I was born. I think most people were as well, and my hope would be that the presidential election reflects more serious issues than that.
So, Trump caught a break today with Mr. Obama assisting in getting the birther issue off the table. [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 9/16/16]
Fox Guest Glenn Hall: Trump “Is Pivoting Away” From Birtherism. The Wall Street Journal’s Glenn Hall told host Jenna Lee that Trump was “pivoting” away from the birther issue “very well” in regard to shifting the focus back to “his ability to lead the nation”:
JENNA LEE (HOST): Donald Trump told Maria Bartiromo this morning, well you're going to have to wait and see. I'm not going to ruin the suspense, talking about the birther issue and look at what he has done, Glenn. As a journalist I’m sure you can appreciate this, he has the complete national media attention on him right now and he’s just going through his list of supporters, and we are all waiting. What is he going to say? He hasn't said anything yet, but he certainly has our attention.
GLENN HALL: Yeah, he's very good at that. He knows how to use the media to his advantage. And this issue probably shouldn't even be on the topic right now but it is.
LEE: The birther issue?
HALL: The birther issue, exactly. But he's pivoting very well right now in terms of putting the message back onto his ability to lead the nation and to deal with those questions people might have had about his temperament to be commander-in-chief. [Fox News, Happening Now, 9/16/16]