The Sunday talk show circuit is still dragging Donald Trump over his Friday shenanigans, which — as CNN’s Jake Tapper put it — was a “political Rick-roll.” This was Tapper’s assessment of how Trump aimed to dismiss five years of questioning Obama’s birth certificate with one tiny sentence: “President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period.” The “period” was meant to denote Trump’s desire to wipe away his enthusiastic fueling of a fringe movement. In doing so, Trump encouraged people to question whether Obama was born in Hawaii, and is therefore an American citizen.
It’s certainly a silly discussion to be having, especially in 2016. Friday even saw Obama interrupted during a trade discussion for quizzing, and Michelle Obama later presented thinly-disguised disgust at the ridiculousness. Even sillier than the movement itself is how Trump tried to downplay his involvement — even after he filmed a $5 million offer to make a charitable donation if Obama also offered up passport and college documentation. During Friday’s press conference, Trump claimed that he “ended” Birtherism, which Polifact fact-checked with a “pants-on-fire” rating.