Donald Trump's political popularity is rooted in racism. He wants you to forget that. Don't.
This week, Trump touted that he would address the birther movement -- the belief that President Barack Obama wasn't born in America -- at an event on Friday morning.
The event was held at his newly-opened Trump hotel in Washington, DC.
Trump was an hour late. He got to the mic and talked about his hotel. Then, he stepped away from the microphone. He did not mention the birther movement.
For the next 20 minutes, other people spoke, praising Trump.
Eventually, Trump got back on the mic. He spoke for 33 seconds about the birther movement.
Then, he took cameras -- not reporters -- on a tour of the hotel. This move led major TV networks to revolt against the campaign.
Several years ago, Trump began questioning where Obama was born. Obama is American. He was born in Hawaii.
Trump explicitly floated the theory that Obama was born in Kenya, and is Muslim. He looked at a black man with a non-white name, and decided that he couldn't possibly be a legitimate American, let alone a legitimate American president.
In Trump's view, only white Christians can be American. This is racism.
The "birther movement" – which Trump championed – reached such a boiling point in 2011 that Obama released his birth certificate.
That did not stop Trump from questioning Obama's legitimacy. Up until Friday afternoon, Trump was still questioning Obama's faith, loyalty and birthplace.
As noted in the above tweet, Trump also questioned Obama's education.
In 2011, Trump wondered aloud how Obama could have possibly gotten accepted into two Ivy League schools (Columbia and Harvard). Again, Trump refused to accept Obama's legitimacy.
In those 33 seconds that Trump spoke about the birther movement on Friday, he lied several times.
There is no record that Clinton herself or anyone within her campaign ever advanced the charge that Obama was not born in the United States. A review by our fellow fact-checkers at Factcheck.org reported that no journalist who investigated this ever found a connection to anyone in the Clinton organization.
As he has done many times before, Trump explicitly lied.
Trump then said he "finished" the birther movement, presumably by making it so loud that Obama was forced to reveal his birth certificate.
But as noted in Trump's own tweets above, he did not "finish" anything. He continued pressing on the issue of Obama's birth. He continued to say that the birth certificate was fake.
Again, Trump explicitly lied.
Donald Trump uses racism, and he is lying to you.
After Trump finished taking no responsibility for the racist birther movement that he himself championed, he walked off the stage without accepting questions.
Then, Trump took cameras on a tour of his new hotel.
Reporters were not allowed to join. Sopan Deb, who has been covering the Trump campaign for CBS, detailed what happened:
Trump turned his political event – which was billed as a moment for him to discuss the racist movement that he led – into a photo-op for his new hotel.
As Deb showed, Trump used 195 words to tease the event on FOX Business in order to get people to tune in.
He then used just 67 words in his 33 seconds of addressing the birther movement at the event.
If you needed any more proof that this was a publicity event for Trump's new hotel, notice that Trump used 270 words to talk about the hotel as compared to, again, the 67 words he used to talk about what he said he was going to talk about.
It was such a gross manipulation of the media that TV networks collectively rejected it.
The TV networks whose cameras were on the post-conference hotel tour with Trump refused to air any footage from it.
Hadas Gold at Politico reported,
In a show of joint defiance, the major television networks collectively voted to pull a camera and erase video of Donald Trump giving a tour of his hotel, a protest of the campaign preventing any editorial presence on the tour.
This could potentially (and hopefully) be a turning point for major networks who, up until this point, were happy to share any movement that Trump made. They therefore arguably helped his popularity in the polls, and definitely aided the year-and-a-half long Trump hotels publicity tour that Donald has been on.
The network hosts similarly voiced disdain for Trump's actions.
John King on CNN said the media "got played, again." Jake Tapper, also on CNN, called the event a "political Rickroll."
Clinton also chimed in.
She tweeted that his actions on Friday were a "disgrace." She went on a long Twitter rant about Trump and his racist birther movement:
Before Trump's circus of a hotel ad, Clinton gave a speech at the Black Women's Agenda in DC. There, she said,
Now Donald's advisors had the temerity to say he's doing the country a “service” by pushing these lies. No, he isn't. He is feeding into the worst impulses, the bigotry and bias that lurks in our country.
Donald Trump looks at Barack Obama after eight years and still doesn't see him as an American.
This is a new low for a campaign that has been testing the limits of just how low a presidential candidate can go.
Trump started his campaign by calling Mexican-Americans rapists and murderers. He raised attention to himself by saying that he would reject all Muslims from entering the country.
He is fighting his opponent – the first female presidential nominee – with sexist remarks.
Trump initially gained political attention by screaming a racist theory about our country's first black president.
He is using the election to promote his business. He made it apparent today that he cares more about getting paying guests to his hotel than he cares about the American people.
Trump would rather you pay more attention to his new hotel than his bigotry and self-interest. Don't.