'That's a Dodge': Megyn Kelly Challenges Trump Spox on Birther Question
Megyn Kelly and Trump spokesperson Katrina Pierson got into a heated back and forth over Donald Trump's position on President Obama's birthplace.
“I’ll answer that question at the right time,” Trump said in a new Washington Post interview. “I just don’t want to answer it yet.”
"Why for the love of God won't he just say that Barack Obama was born in the United States?" Kelly asked Pierson.
Pierson responded that Trump is not "robotic politician" and won't "let the media determine what he talks about and when."
She said that Trump just wants to focus on his policies, but the Clinton campaign and the media keep using "diversionary tactics."
Kelly asked again about the birtherism issue, noting that Rudy Giuliani and Kellyanne Conway have both said Trump now believes Obama was born in the U.S.
"Why wouldn't he say it when asked tonight?" Kelly asked.
Pierson said it's because Trump has said he doesn't talk about that anymore and that it's "irrelevant" because Obama is not on the ballot.
"Katrina, no. That's not going to fly," Kelly said. "Does he believe it or not?"
Kelly said it was not "completely irrelevant" because many African-Americans believe the position Trump took was "a racist position meant to delegitimize the president."
When Pierson said that Trump was increasing support with African-Americans in South Carolina and brought up Hillary Clinton's "basket of deplorables" remark, Kelly said "That's a dodge," which Pierson denied.
"The media's not going to force Mr. Trump to say anything he's not ready to say," Pierson said.
"The media didn't force him to come out and take a position being a birther, but he did, and now we're following up because he wants to be commander in chief," Kelly said.
UPDATE 10:23p ET
Donald Trump's campaign issued a statement via email saying, "Mr. Trump believes that President Obama was born in the United States," and accusing Hillary Clinton of introducing the issue in the 2008 election.
"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.
In 2011, Mr. Trump was finally able to bring this ugly incident to its conclusion by successfully compelling President Obama to release his birth certificate. Mr. Trump did a great service to the President and the country by bringing closure to the issue that Hillary Clinton and her team first raised. Inarguably, Donald J. Trump is a closer. Having successfully obtained President Obama’s birth certificate when others could not, Mr. Trump believes that President Obama was born in the United States.
Mr. Trump is now totally focused on bringing jobs back to America, defeating radical Islamic terrorism, taking care of our veterans, introducing school choice opportunities and rebuilding and making our inner cities safe again." – Jason Miller, Senior Communications Advisor