One of the most infuriating and persistent myths of President Barack Obama’s presidency was the right-wing conspiracy theory that he was born in Kenya and therefore not eligible to hold the presidency.
It was one of the defining features of his presidency and over half of Republicans still believe this racist nonsense, if the polls are to be trusted.
Which is why it is absolutely dumbfounding to watch diminutive alt-right grievance preacher Ben Shapiro try to claim it never existed in a defense of Trump, especially considering that the loudest proponent of the theory in the first place was none other than Donald J. Trump himself.
Ben Shapiro, apparently forgetting that Donald Trump is the Republican President of the United States, says "I'm not aware of a single major Republican figure who said the Barack Obama was not the legitimate President of the United States" pic.twitter.com/rM0TkWvo8y
— Jason Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) August 19, 2019
Donald Trump prominently and publicly promoted the “birther” conspiracy at least 14 times and continued to do so even after President Obama released his long-form birth certificate. Most infamously, Trump promised he would donate $1 million to a charity of President Obama’s choice if he did release the certificate — which he, of course, never paid out.
On top of that, the quickest of Google searches reveals that there was, in fact, a very long list of prominent Republicans who endorsed the idea that President Obama was not eligible to be president and thus rendering his presidency illegitimate.
Familiar names on the list of birther Republicans include racist Sherrif Joe Arpaio, disgraced Senator David Vitter (R-LA), state Rep. Matthew Hill (R-TN), Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), former Iowa Governor Mike Huckabee, and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
For crying out loud, Republicans literally introduced bills in Congress related to the birther issue.
Major Republicans did nothing to stop the spread of the conspiracy, as made clear by this series of “interviews” by blogger Mike Stark, which features prominent Republicans refusing to disavow the conspiracy and even literally running away from the questions.
It is breathtaking to see Shapiro try to deny that Trump or other Republicans questioned the legitimacy of President Obama’s presidency; it’s just another example of the complete rewriting of history that the right-wing loves to do to cover up their sordid past and take advantage of the American public’s goldfish political memory.