Donald Trump Addressed Obama’s Citizenship – And Twitter Erupted

Yesterday, following an article by the Washington Post’s Robert Costa, the Donald Trump campaign said it would make a “major announcement” at his newest property on Friday – Washington, D.C.’s Trump International Hotel.

Trump spokesman Jason Miller announced, as well, that the Republican candidate believed that President Barack Obama was, indeed, born in America. The announcement was set to conclude a five-year saga of “birtherism” Trump initiated ahead of the 2012 election.

The event was scheduled to start at 10 a.m., but did not start until 11 a.m. It began with 29 minutes of Trump surrogates delivering speeches.

Trump began his speech with the following: “Nice hotel. Under budget and ahead of schedule.” He admitted, finally, that President Obama was born in America, but, falsely, added that Hillary Clinton started the commotion.

In his blog, The Fix, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza called it “peak Trump,” saying, “It was a low moment for politics and political coverage. A nothing-burger filled with falsehoods covered as though it was the Super Bowl.”

Reporters from both conservative and liberal leaning outlets, as well as pundits across the political spectrum, offered their 140-character analyses of the event:

Following the media event, Trump invited pool cameras to follow him on a tour of the hotel; however, reporters and producers were barred from accompanying their camera crew. DC bureau chiefs of the major networks held an emergency conference call regarding the situation and ultimately opted not to send a camera crew.


While most tweets made reference to the media event feeling like a promo for his new hotel, or giving free airtime to Trump surrogates, Benjy Sarlin of NBC News pointed to event as a “massive trolling wink” to the alt-right movement.

Not but a little over two hours later, Sarlin pointed out that conservative outlet Breitbart’s homepage featured the headline “The Perfect Troll: Trump Tricks Media into Covering Endorsement From Decorated Veterans.” The article featured an image of Harambe, the gorilla shot at the Cincinnati zoo shot on May 28 who has recently been the subject of an Internet meme sensation. Breitbart is a self-proclaimed outlet of the alt-right movement, a movement notorious for dog whistles to white nationalist supporters. Many insist including a photo of Harambe, in conjunction with reference to the Birther movement, is more of the same.


As Trump’s announcement drew the complete attention of the political world, Twitter, again, fostered debate among voices in traditional and new media covering the 2016 campaigns in bizarre and, even perverse, forms. Traditional and new voices, identified and anonymous users, text and subtext – yet another glimpse into the layered and complex nature of political discourse in 2016.

Scott Nover contributed reporting.

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