Another day, another Donald Trump-related controversy.
After years of pushing the idea that President Obama was not born in the United States, effectively suggesting that his presidency was illegitimate, Trump held a press conference on Friday in which he conceded that, yes, OK, Barack Obama was indeed born in America.
"President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period," Trump said.
Trump's press conference ignited a heated discussion on social media under the hashtag #birtherism. Many criticized the GOP nominee for touting what amounted to a lie for years, only to retract it because it was politically inconvenient. (Critics say Trump is denying the birther movement now in an attempt to win over African American voters, among whom he is polling disastrously.)
But one powerful tweet stood out for its shuddering accuracy about what the birther conspiracy really is: racism.
"Protip: We didn't need to create the word #birtherism. We already had a word for what that is. It's called racism," tweeted Kamau Bell, a comedian and host of CNN's United Shades of America.
Others echoed his statement.
And Trump didn't stop there. In fact, he merely exchanged one conspiracy theory for another: that it was his opponent Hillary Clinton who first floated the theory.
"Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it," he boldly claimed at Friday's press conference.
CNN's Jake Tapper responded:
[Clinton] and her campaign never started the birther issue. .... Donald Trump did not end the birther issue. He takes credit for President Obama being pressured to release his birth certificate in 2011... There were never any serious questions as to whether he was born in Hawaii; it was a crackpot conspiracy theory. Donald Trump fueled it. He kept up this birther nonsense long after 2011.
So let's step away from the birth certificates, and let's focus on what really matters. This conversation (and all its racist overtones) helped to keep us from discussing all the pressing issues we have yet to resolve, like how best to address police brutality or help Syrian refugees. Instead of saying someone else started this and pointing fingers, we could be lending helping hands.
Cover image via a katz / Shutterstock.com.