Donald Trump has recently adjusted his tune on a number of issues that he once held near and dear. We first saw him tweak his immigration stance after a visit to Mexico, and it now looks like he is distancing himself from the controversial birther movement. Trump became the defacto public leader for a movement that questioned Barack Obama’s birthplace and his qualifications for running for president.
Back in 2011, Trump was more than willing to be one of the most recognizable faces in the birther movement. He even went as far to demand the president release a long-form birth certificate to prove he was U.S. born and bred. And like many fringe movements, the birther phenomenon started to die down, but Trump has yet to recant his accusations, and some of his fiercest allies are defending him. On Tuesday night, Bill O’Reilly asked Trump if this mindset has hurt his appeal with African-American voters, and he brushed it off:
“I don’t know. I have no idea. I don’t even talk about it anymore Bill because I don’t bother talking about it…I guess with maybe some, I don’t know, I really don’t know why, you’re the first one who brought that up in a while. I don’t think so. Look, I went to Detroit it was like a love-fest. We had just a great time.”
Trump’s non-answer to a question that should have a pretty straight forward “yes” or “no” answer was critiqued by a number of media outlets and even one of his surrogates, Ben Carson. The panel on MSNBC’s Morning Joe called Trump’s answer “lame” and believe it is a contributing factor as to why African-American voters don’t trust him. They also pointed out this was not the first time he had refused to answer birther-related questions. On Wednesday, Ben Carson told CNN that it would be a “good idea” for Trump to apologize, which would help weed through the rhetoric and move onto issues.
Trump’s non-committal answer is pretty standard at this point, with the Republican presidential candidate leaning more towards rhetoric than talking about the issues head on. The presidential debates may snap him into high gear, but for now we may still see the same old non-answers from Trump.