Donald Trump Jr. Seemingly Resurfaced 2008 Birther Claims With This Tweet About Obama

by Collette Reitz
Angelo Merendino/Getty Images News/Getty Images/Shannon Finney/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

The year 2018 is undoubtedly unchartered territory when it comes to politics. The former host of a reality TV show is nearing the end of his second year as the President of the United States, and the country has never been more politically divided. And now, one ridiculous conspiracy theory that seemed to be a settled matter has resurfaced thanks to a tweet (of course). On Saturday, Sept. 15, Donald Trump Jr. said that Obama's 2008 "57 States" Gaffe "probably" included the Islamic State, which seems to beg the question of whether or not the eldest son of President Donald Trump meant to resurface a decade-old birther claim about President Barack Obama. Elite Daily reached out to the Trump Organization and the White House for comment Don Jr.'s tweet but did not hear back at the time of publication.

You might be wondering how a 10-year-old gaffe — Obama misspoke at a campaign event in 2008 mistakenly saying at the time he had visited "57 states" in the United States — made its way back into the current political conversation, and that's thanks to President Trump's tweet on the morning of Saturday, Sept. 15. In his tweet, Trump lamented the fact that he believed Obama was never taken to task for his flub on the campaign trail in 2008. Don Jr. quickly piggy-backed on his dad's throwback tweet, and he retweeted it with his own commentary.

For context, President Trump's original tweet read,

When President Obama said that he has been to '57 States,' very little mention in Fake News Media. Can you imagine if I said that...story of the year! @IngrahamAngle

Don Jr. remarked in his quote-tweet, "In Obama’s defense he’s probably including The Deep State, the Islamic State, etc etc... so I’ll let that one slide," and he closed the tweet with laughing-crying and American flag emojis. So, it's a... joke?

OK, there's a bit to unpack here: is Don Jr. really trying to resurface racist birther claims that are completely false? Elite Daily reached out to the Trump Organization and the White House for clarification of Don Jr.'s tweet but did not hear back at the time of publication. He didn't outright say that he doesn't believe that Obama was born in the United States (which he was), but he brought it up in conjunction with the '08 mishap that brought along with it conspiracy theories that Obama was actually referring to the 57 member states of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC), per The Hill.

People weren't really here for it.

Others even suggested it was an attempt to divert attention away from the news that Paul Manafort accepted a plea deal with with FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

In 2011, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) even brought the theory up on the House floor, per The Hill, when he said, "And I know [President Obama] made the mistake one day of saying he had visited all 57 states, and I’m well aware that there are not 57 states in this country, although there are 57 members of OIC, the Islamic states in the world."

"Perhaps there was some confusion whether he’d been to all 57 Islamic states as opposed to all 50 U.S. states. But nonetheless, we have an obligation to the 50 American states, not the 57 Muslim, Islamic states," Gohmert continued.

When The Los Angeles Times reported the flub at the time in 2008, the paper noted that Obama was on the campaign trail for 16 months at the time of the May 2008 incident, and he was trying to illustrate that he had visited almost every contiguous U.S. state when he said, "I’ve now been in 57 states? I think one left to go. Alaska and Hawaii, I was not allowed to go to even though I really wanted to visit, but my staff would not justify it." Afterward, he acknowledged his misspoken words following the event, telling reporters at the time, "...I understand I said there were 57 states today. It's a sign that my numeracy is getting a little, uh..." The Times noted that Obama's remarks were then cut off by aides.

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President Trump was also previously a proponent of the birther claims, often voicing his belief that President Obama was born outside of the United States, per CNN. Although, Trump did finally relent in at a campaign event in September 2016 when he said that Obama was born in the United States. Trump's original "57 states" tweet and Don Jr.'s added commentary seem to tell a different story, though. Elite Daily reached out to the White House to confirm President Trump was referring to Obama's 2008 comment in his tweet and for comment on whether President Trump was also referencing the birther claims from that time in his tweet but did not hear back by the time of publication.

While most people understand the Obama birther claims to be completely ridiculous and unfounded, there are some troubling responses to Don Jr.'s tweet that seem to affirm people's belief that Obama was referring to 57 member states of the OIC at the time. With no further explanation or response from Don Jr., it's difficult to clarify what his intent was with this joke (?). Here's to hoping Don Jr.'s next attempt at comedy is based in facts and has an actual punchline.