Lewandowski: Trump’s Birther Comments Are “A Nonissue”
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CNN political commentator and former Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski whitewashed Trump’s birther history and falsely claimed the Republican presidential candidate “moved on” from his conspiracy theory that President Obama was not born in the U.S. After CNN’s Alisyn Camerota asked if Trump believes Obama is a citizen, Lewandowski said “the birth certificate has been produced. [Trump]’s moved on.” However in 2012, Trump resurrected his birther conspiracy theory during an interview with former Fox host Greta Van Susteren, claiming that “many, many people” questioned the validity of Obama’s long-form birth certificate. Lewandowski recently revived Trump’s birther theory, asking if President Obama was admitted into Harvard University “as a U.S. citizen,” or “as a citizen who wasn’t from this country?”
CNN has received criticism for paying Lewandowski to comment on the election despite his continued ties to the Trump campaign. In addition to receiving severance from the campaign, Lewandowski is also reportedly prepping Trump for the debates and traveling with the candidate to campaign stops. In an open letter to CNN president Jeff Zucker, Media Matters president Bradley Beychok has called on Zucker to publicly address questions regarding the hiring of Lewandowski or suspend him from the network. From the September 9 edition of CNN’s New Day:
ALISYN CAMEROTA (CO-HOST): Does Donald Trump believe that President Obama was born in Hawaii?
COREY LEWANDOWSKI: Look, of course, he said that. He said he's not going to talk about it.
CAMEROTA: No he hasn’t.
CHRISTINE QUINN: No he has not.
CAMEROTA: He says he hasn't talked about it. He's never said he believes that.
LEWANDOWSKI: He has said that Barack Obama has produced his birth certificate and he doesn't want to talk about it anymore. That's what he said.
CAMEROTA: Why doesn't he say, I apologize for saying that he was not an American?
LEWANDOWSKI: No, he asked a question. He said, produce your birth certificate. The birth certificate has been produced. He's moved on.
QUINN: But that doesn’t mean he accepts the birth certificate.
CAMOERTA: Let me play for you what he told Bill O'Reilly, who brought it up, OK? Bill O’Reilly, not just Democrats. Fox News is bringing it up because Donald Trump is so unresolved on this issue. Let me play this for you.
QUINN: He never said he was born in Hawaii.
BILL O’REILLY: Do you think your birther position has hurt you among African-Americans?
DONALD TRUMP: I don’t know. I have no idea. I don’t even talk about it anymore, Bill.
O’REILLY: No, I know.
TRUMP: Because I just don’t want to talk about it.
O’REILLY: But it’s there. It’s on the record.
TRUMP: I don’t know. I guess with maybe some. I don’t know why. I really don’t know why.
CAMEROTA: That’s all he says, I don’t talk about it anymore, I don’t know why. I don’t talk about it anymore. He never says I now think I was wrong.
My question is, why doesn't he say I was wrong?
LEWANDOWSKI: Look it's a nonissue.
CAMEROTA: No, it's not a nonissue. It keeps coming up everywhere.
LEWANDOWSKI: He's not running against Barack Obama in this campaign. If he was, he’d win. If he’s runs against Hillary Clinton, which is a third term of Barack Obama, he’s going to win . So let's talk about Hillary Clinton, who's running for president of the United States.
CAMEROTA: OK last word.
QUINN: Let’s talk about Donald Trump. He has insulted the president of the United States, spread lies about his citizenship, and insulted the first African-American president of the United States. And now that he's running for president? That does deserve an apology. And yet again, Donald Trump can't admit that he's wrong and dog-whistles out there across the country to divide us, not bring us together.
LEWANDOWSKI: Look, the president has attacked Donald Trump multiple occasions from the White House. If he wants to apologize to Donald Trump, I'm sure Donald Trump will.
CAMEROTA: He's not saying he’s not a citizen. He’s not saying he wasn’t born here.
LEWANDOWSKI: He's said a number of egregious things, and he’s questioned his patriotism, he’s questioned a number of things about Donald Trump.
CAMEROTA: This is in a different category.
For information on Media Matters’ petition for CNN to cut ties with Lewandowski, please click here.