Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump recently came under fire for his birtherism crusade in 2008 against now-president Barack Obama.
Though acknowledging on Friday that Obama was born in the United States, Trump pointed his finger at Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Trump maintains he did not start the comments, but only joined in after Clinton first began the conversation.
Joining as a guest on NBC Sunday-show “Meet the Press,” Trump’s newer campaign manager, Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway, was grilled over Trump’s past.
Host Chuck Todd asked Conway to speak on Trump’s change of heart. Conway repeated Trump’s Friday statement, particularly to say that the Clintons began questioning Obama’s place of birth. Similar to Trump, Conway criticized Clinton for starting the rumor in 2007 while she and Obama were campaigning against each other for the Democratic nomination.
Todd asked Conway about a recent statement previously released by the campaign that called birtherism a “smear:” (author emphasis added)
“Hillary Clinton’s campaign first raised this issue to smear then-candidate Barack Obama in her very nasty, failed 2008 campaign for President. This type of vicious and conniving behavior is straight from the Clinton Playbook. As usual, however, Hillary Clinton was too weak to get an answer. Even the MSNBC show Morning Joe admits that it was Clinton’s henchmen who first raised this issue, not Donald J. Trump.
Todd suggested that the language also pointed to Trump smearing the president. “If your campaign believes it’s a smear,” he asked “shouldn’t Donald Trump apologize to the president?”
Conway did not answer, saying that the campaign was simply reminding the American voters which candidate began the attack.