NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Friday first tried to put the issue of his past endorsement of “birtherism” to rest, but went on to redirect the subject to the Second Amendment and an attack on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
As CBS2’s Brian Conybeare reported, Trump claimed that Clinton wants to take people’s guns away, and he said the same thing should happen to her Secret Service detail.
“Take their guns away. She doesn’t want guns,” Trump said. “Let’s see what happens to her.”
Trump suggested it would be “very dangerous” if Clinton did not have armed guards surrounding her. Some viewed his comments as another veiled threat of violence similar to another Second Amendment comment that sparked a firestorm last month.
Clinton campaign manager Robbie Mook responded to Trump’s comment, saying it reflects “a pattern of inciting people to violence” on Trump’s part.
Mook said in the statement, “It is an unacceptable quality in anyone seeking the job of commander in chief.”
Earlier, Trump tried to put to rest his past promotion of he “birther” movement, claiming that President Barack Obama was not really born in the United States.
“President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period.” Trump said.
Trump had been one of the leading voices who insisted that Obama was not born in the United States, despite the president proving that he was born in Hawaii.
On Friday, Trump blamed the birther debate on Clinton’s 2008 campaign for president.
“Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it. You know what I mean?” Trump said. “President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period.”
But the Clinton campaign said Trump is flat-out lying, and said they had nothing to do with the birther movement.
“Barack Obama was born in America, plain and simple, and Donald Trump owes him and the American people an apology,” Clinton said.
Trump supporters claimed the birther movement was first start by the 2008 Clinton campaign against Barack Obama.
On Friday, the woman who managed that campaign, Patti Solis Doyle, said one volunteer coordinator did forward an email promoting the birther conspiracy in 2007. But Clinton did not condone or even tolerate it, Solis Doyle said.
“Hillary let the decision immediately to let that person go,” Solis Doyle said. “We let that person go.”
Trump through the years on Twitter has continued to raise the question, and took credit for what his campaign called “compelling” the President to release his birth certificate in 2011.
But it didn’t end there. Just last year, Trump said this: “Hillary Clinton wanted his birth certificate. Hillary is a birther, whether or not that was a real certificate, because a lot of people question it. I certainly question it.”
Obama himself seemed to shrug off the issue on Friday.
“I am fairly confident about where I was born,” he said. “I think most people were as well.”
But congressional Democrats voiced their outrage.
“He owes an apology to President Obama. He owes an apology to the African-American community. He owes an apology to the United States of America,” said U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.)
Back in Miami, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani used Clinton’s recent comment about Trump supporters being a “basket of deplorables” against her.”
“You see these polls turning around and you see that all those American people that Hillary Clinton put in the basket, right?” Giuliani said. “I like being in that basket.”
The latest controversies came just 11 days before the first debate, with the race according to the polls apparently tightening.
“Hillary Clinton is slightly ahead, but at the end of the day, if I was her campaign, I would worry it is too close to comfort,” said Dan Senor, a former adviser to Mitt Romney, “because this is a change election.”
In the morning, Clinton fired off a tweet referring to her rival as “birther-in-chief” and featuring an old clip of Trump.
Later, while addressing a black women’s symposium in the nation’s capital, Clinton said Trump is feeding into the “worst impulses, the bigotry and bias” that lurks in the nation, and that he owes Obama and the American people an apology for his role in the so-called “birther” movement.
The Democractic presidential nominee said Trump’s campaign was “founded on this outrageous lie” and “there is no erasing it.”
“In recent weeks, he’s tried to restrain himself and clean up his image, but as Maya Angelou once said, when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time,” Clinton said.
Clinton also said in a series of tweets Friday that when Trump tries to “deflect blame” for denying that Obama was born in the United States, her Republican opponent “is lying.”
The Democratic presidential nominee said “leading the birther movement is deplorable,” and trying to say that Trump “did a great service” to Obama “is asinine.”
With the race now in a statistical tie, Clinton is reiterating how critical this final stretch of the campaign will be.
“The next 53 days will shape will shape the next 50 years,” she said.
The first debate is a week from Monday. Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill stein will not be part of it, as they did not meet the 15 percent polling threshold.
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