The media showed up to the presidential ballroom of the new Trump International Hotel on Friday morning expecting Donald Trump to take questions about whether he still questions President Obama’s birthplace.
Instead, they got more than a half hour of a variety of military heroes — generals, medal of honor recipients and a gold star wife — expressing support for the Republican nominee. And it all aired live on the cable news networks.
Before the event, Trump tweeted: “I am now going to the brand new Trump International, Hotel D.C. for a major statement.” That was interpreted by the press to mean he was going to address “birther” questions.
That’s because on Thursday, Trump declined to tell the Washington Post if he still questioned whether Obama is an American citizen. But later Thursday night — after his comment took off in the media — Trump’s campaign released a statement saying: “Having successfully obtained President Obama’s birth certificate when others could not, Mr. Trump believes that President Obama was born in the United States.”
Realizing Trump was not using the occasion to address that subject — and instead focus it on the military — many in the press were not happy — and vented about it on Twitter.
Trump’s campaign announced the endorsement of 44 new military flag officers, saying that brings the number up to 164 now.
“I am grateful for the growing support of highly respected retired generals and admirals who have been so successful in defending our country,” Trump said.
At the very end of the campaign event, Trump finally addressed the topic the media was there to hear. “Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it.”“President Barack Obama was born in the United States,” Trump said. “Period. Now we all want to get back to making America strong again.”
Many reporters, some standing on chairs, began shouting questions over the applause from the guests in attendance. But Trump, having accomplished what he wanted, took none.