tv The Place for Politics 2016 MSNBC September 16, 2016 7:00am-8:01am PDT
patriotic americans. he looks at women and decides how our looks rate on a scale of 1 to 10. i look at america. i see everyone. i see our great diversity which is one of our core strengths. not our burden. we mknow who donald trump is. now it's time for our country to show who we are and reject his divisive vision. that's why this election is so important. as michelle obama said at the democratic convention, when we go to the polls in november, the real choice isn't between a democrat or a republican. it's about who will have the power to shape our children's
lives for the next four years. it's also about the kind of country we want to be and what we want to leave behind for future generations. we are at our best when every person gets to share in our nation's promise, contribute to our stronger together is not just a campaign slogan but the guiding principle to the future we must build. america, we need to ask ourselves. are we going to make our economy work for everyone or just at the top? are we going to bring people together or pit americans against each other and rip our country apart? are we going to work with our allyinies to keep us safe or are going to put a loose cannon in charge who would risk everything
that generations of americans have worked so hard to build? now, in many ways, this profound choice is up to the women in this room. african-american women turned out to vote more than any other group of americans in 2012. this year once again, you have your hands on the wheel of history. and you can write the next chapter of the american story. keep up the great work with your four for four campaign. make sure we get as many people registered and then to the polls as we possibly can. people say to me all the time, i just don't know what to do about trump and his supporters and the things he says and inciting
violence, all of the terrible activities that are happening this election year. well, here's what we can do. let's reject the cynicism, the bullying, the divisive rhetoric that my opponent uses to make us afraid of each other. afraid of our differences. afraid of our future. i know that all of us in this room are ready to stand up against this, to rise up for our families, our communities, but most importantly, to show up at the polls this november. with our power and strength, i know, i believe this or i would not be standing here before you. i would not have run again for
president. i would not deal with all the incoming brick bats that are hurled my way if i did not in my heart believe with every fiber of my being that together, we can build a future where, yes, love trumps hate. thank you all very much. thank you. >> and there you have it. hillary clinton wrapping up a speech to the black women's agenda symposium in washington, dc. this was her third campaign event since returning to the campaign trail after that bout with pneumonia. this is just one of the breaking stories that we are following this friday morning in a race for the white house. msnbc has learned that donald trump will directly address the issue of president obama's
birthplace today. that news coming both from his campaign and the candidate himself, as you know, trump himself has never publicly said that he believes the president was born in the united states of america, but as you heard just moments ago, hillary clinton not shying away from making that a central issue in this race right now, that donald trump announcement supposed to be happening at this new hotel in washington, dc less than a mile away from the hillary clinton event that just wrapped up a few moments ago. this is the scene. this is the scene right now in the nation's capital where the gop nominee set to hold that campaign event any moment now at his new hotel. let us start though, let's start with kristen welker who is traveling with hillary clinton, again, there in washington, dc. we heard toward the end of that speech there, kristen, hillary clinton calling on donald trump to apologize for all of this
birther stuff. it will be interesting to see if that actually happens. i wouldn't bet on it happening but it was interesting to hear hillary clinton take on the news of the day head on there. >> reporter: indeed, and the second time she's taken it on in less than 24 hours. last time when she was speaking to the congressional spanish caucus gala, she slammed donald trump for saying president obama was not born in the united states. she reiterated those comments again today, craig, as you just pointed out only in stronger terms and here's the takeaway, that he's led the birther movement for the past five years. you heard her say that you can't reverse history. what does that mean? that means that whatever donald trump comes out and says today, even if he does apologize, the posture from the clinton campaign is likely going to be tha that you cannot reverse years of questioning whether president obama was born here. this is an issue that rallies not only african-americans but
the democratic base and of course, for secretary clinton, for democrats winning the white house, they think, it's all about voter turnout. so this is an issue she is going to continue to hit not only today but in the coming days and in the coming weeks. now, the first lady, michelle obama, campaigning in virginia toda today, craig, listening closely to see if she brings this up. she'll be critical to rallying this important voting bloc as well. secretary clinton will be in philadelphia on monday. why philadelphia? because they have a voter registration coming up in just days and she is going to really try to rally the crowd and we heard some of that here urging them to get out and vote. right now, i think that's critical to her strategy. not just energizing her base but making sure they actually turn out on election day. so i think we'll hear a lot more of this heated rhetoric from secretary clinton as she tries to reboot her campaign after
taking three days off from recovering from pneumonia, craig. >> kristen welker inside that ballroom where hillary clinton just finished speaking a few moments ago. we should note, michelle obama campaigning by herself for hillary clinton. just over the bridge this afternoon in fairfax, virginia, kristen. thank you as always. as we continue to wait for donald trump, we've got nbc's katy tur also in washington traveling with the trump campaign along with "the new york times," robert costa of "the washington post" here and it was costa's interview with trump earlier this week that reignited the birther issue. there it is. the trump plane arrived in washington, dc, that appears to be reagan national airport not actually in the district but also over the bridge there in virginia. we were told it's an event that's going to get under way at 10:00 as you can see. they're running just a wee bit late in the nation's capital but you can see the republican nominee has landed. katy, let me start with you.
what do you know about when trump himself is going to be addressing this birthplace story line? reasonable to assume it's going to happen at this particular event at this hotel? >> reporter: that's what we're led to believe that he will addressing at his first event today. this is the first event. there's a number of members of the media here who will be able to hear him say that he believes president obama was born in the united states. so far, those words have not come out of his mouth on the record to a reporter or on camera since this whole birther movement started many years ago, since donald trump really led the birther movement. and as you said, craig, he hasn't walked away from it at any time even though the campaign says he believes that president obama was born in the u.s., donald trump himself has not said that. it all started about last week or so, the reeruption of this when rudy giuliani was on "hardball with chris matthews."
he asked him about the birther issue and matthews has continued to bring it up and rudy giuliani said that donald trump disavowed that statement years ago. one, two, three years ago is what he said. the problem with that is that he had not and the reporters who have been covering him for 15 or so months now know this because we ourselves asked him a number of times. i asked him last july when he first started running. will you say that president obama was born in the u.s. and why did you go there to begin with? and he looked and me and said, i don't know, what do you think? he refused to do it back then and then on the press plane a couple of weeks ago when he was asked by the pool. he refused to do it to bob costa when his article posted last night and he refused to do it this morning on fox business when he was asked about it and he needed to leave some of the suspense open. i'm not sure why he thinks this
is a suspensablesuspenseful iss. he's been furthering now for quite some time that he was born in kenya. we'll see if he says that words on stage but so far, all we hear is from the campaign. >> you mentioned bob costa. we have him here with us. let's talk about this interview you conducted in ohio. you asked donald trump. i want to make sure i get this right. quote, he said, quote, i'll answer that question at the right time. i just don't want to answer it yet. this was on wednesday in ohio. did he say why he didn't want to answer it yet? >> well, the way this all came about was pretty simple. kelly ann conway, the campaign manager, said a week ago on television that donald trump now believes that president obama was born in the united states, and she has been the campaign chief spokesperson and i assume
that was the new trump campaign policy coming from kelly ann conway. so in a wide ranging interview, that was one of the questions i asked and i asked him several times just to make sure i was hearing it correctly about whether kelly ann conway's position or statement reflects donald trump's view. and he was, what he said, okay. he didn't say he agreed with it or not but was reluctant to answer that question at this time. >> i want to bring you into the conversation here, but before i do that, i want to remind our viewers and our listeners just kind of how we got here. this is donald trump over the years on whether president obama was born in the united states of america. >> why doesn't he show his birth certificate and you know, i wish he would because i think it's a terrible hanging over him. i wonder whether or not he was born in the country. nobody comes forward.
nobody knows who he is until later in his life. very strange. he may have one, but there's something on that birth, maybe religion, maybe it says he's a muslim, i don't know. i have people studying it and they cannot believe what they're pie finding. i would like to see a couple of things. trump comes along and says birth certificate. he gave a birth certificate. whether or not that was a real certificate because a lot of people question it, i certainly question it. >> a few years ago, you led the birther movement. >> according to you, it's not true. >> i think we should step back for a moment and just acknowledge where we are in this campaign, yanish. we're looking at donald trump's plane, reagan national waiting for him to travel a few miles to his hotel. the republican nominee for president of the united states, we're waiting for him to acknowledge the current president is actually a citizen
of the united states. that's where we are this morning. if he does come out today or really anytime before the election and says he believes obama was born here, what does that do to his credibility or following? you could argue that his entire political career could be traced back to this very issue, to him being a birther. >> well, i think if he actually comes out and says president obama is born in the united states, people on the fence, maybe i can't support him because he's really kind of in some ways defamed a sitting president, that maybe i'll get with him and maybe i'll go and support him but i should say for the vast majority of people i talked to, especially voters of color, black voters and hispanic voters and whose families may be immigrants to the united states, this is something he can't get away from even if he does say on a podium, i believe barack obama is a credible president and was born in the united states. a lot of people are going to say, it's too little too late.
this is something that's plagued him and why the vast majority of african-americans do not back him. all the things he's been saying on the campaign trail like, what do you have to lose and the inner city, so terrible. your schools are failing. but really, when you go back and talk to african-american voters in this country, the first thing they remember about donald trump is that he led the birther movement and really said that the first african-american president was not credible. >> for years. go ahead. >> you bring up an important point. i was with trump in flint and spoke to some voters there in an african-american church and they were intrigued by trump being an outsider but this issue of president obama's birth and trump's efforts on that front is disquieting to them. it's keeping them away from trump even if they're reluctant about secretary clinton. when i brought this up in the interview, i said, for many african-american voters i meet, this is the cloud over you and then he looked back at me and said, no. it's a cloud over reporters. and so he didn't take that point. he thinks he can still win over
african-american voters. >> does he really believe that, robert costa, or is this another attempt to perhaps make his campaign for acceptable to suburban white voters? is he trying to send the message, you know what, i'm really not a racist. >> i think in part, you could see the campaign when he goes to places like baton rouge and flint, he's going to little haiti in miami today. maybe it is signaling to the voters in the suburbs who are wary about him that trump is not as racially charged as some may think he is. that may be part of the strategy. i haven't heard that articulated fully but trump believes he can win over these voters but he has so many deep problems with them because of his temperament, his tone, and what he's said. >> katy tur? go ahead. >> i was going to say really quickly, when you started this, this is where we are in the campaign. keep in mind, the election is in
november. for him to have said president obama wasn't born in this country and not have taken that back before today, it's really kind of remarkable because if he was really serious in some ways and i think this is coming from voters, they would say, why didn't you when you came down and you announced you were going to be running for president, why didn't you say then, i said a lot of stuff in the past. that's when i was a businessman or someone out in the field or reading and talking a lot but now as a presidential candidate, i can say, i truly believe that president obama was born in this country. he could have said that when he announced more than a year ago and instead, we hear this now. a lot of voters i talk to say, is this sincere? the fact this campaign said in statements and his campaign managers said this but he hasn't himself said this, it goes to the question of, are you going to just give in to the pressure around you? many are frustrated with the outreach to african-americans and wanted him to do this earlier. >> robert, i wanted to put this
campaign statement on the screen for viewers at home and i'll read it for our listeners on the radio. this was put out last night from the trump campaign, not from the candidate himself. here's the first line. i'll read the part i wanted to use here. 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 behavior straight from the clinton play book. robert costa, what do we know about the role of hillary clinton and the birther movement and the role with this? >> several organizations including "the washington post" have fact checked this claim. the discussion in trump's statement which is false comes from this reporting years ago during secretary clinton's 2008 campaign, some democrats had perhaps discussed this in some kind of a private memo. it was never pushed by secretary clinton. it was never part of the clinton
campaign. secretary clinton never said anything to this effect. so trump's statement that this was driven by secretary clinton, we have not seen any facts that back that statement up. >> rick tyler is standing by for us. msnbc political analyst and of course, former senior advisor to ted cruz's presidential campaign. rick, as we continue to wait for donald trump to make his way off the plane and get to this hotel of his there in the nation's capital, let's talk about what this statement could mean for his base because something else i don't think a lot of folks realize and i believe we have this graphic as well. this was from just last month. when asked whether people believe that president obama is a citizen of the united states of america. this was the response. i believe we have the graphic. there it is right there. barack obama was born in the u.s. this is among republicans in the nbc news survey monkey poll. 41% disagreed with that
statement. so we're not talking about a small group of just kooks and nut jobs but a good chunk of folks who don't believe that the president was born here. if donald trump comes out and he says, you know what? i've changed my mind. the president is a citizen after all, what does he do to those voters? does he alienate them? >> in a way, craig, i think this is the most sort of significant position of reversal that donald trump has had. he's reversed himself on many policy issues including one of his key issues which is immigration. but in many ways, this birther, because he was the face of the birther movement all through 2012 and not only that but engaging in many conspiracies. look through his tweets. he tries to undermine the credibility of the birth certificate that came out. he notes that the person who had verified the birth certificate died in a plane crash when nobody else on the plane died.
just really dug in and so this is sort of doctrinal with the anti-obama folks which he has a lot of supporters, and so it will be interesting to see today if he actually does reverse himself, whether those people, whether it has a negative effect on them or not. >> we saw donald trump on his way to the hotel to washington, dc to make what he is promising, a big announcement, the assumption here based on reporting that we've done and some of the sources on the ground there. the working theory is that he is going to address the birther issue. hillary clinton talked about it at an event that just wrapped up roughly 15 minutes ago. here's what the democratic nominee said. >> and we know who donald is. for five years, he has led the
birther movement to delegitimize our first black president. his campaign was founded on this outrageous lie. there is no erasing it in history. just yesterday, trump again refused to say with his own words that the president was born in the united states. now, donald's advisors have the temerity to say he's doing the country a service by pushing these lies. no, he isn't. he is feeding in to the worst impulses, the bigotry and bias that lurks in our country. barack obama was born in america, plain and simple, and donald trump owes him and the american people an apology.
>> robert costa, from a political standpoint, purely strategic standpoint, why talk about this? why would donald trump, 50 days out, he's surging in certain polls. why even bother going there? >> well, he was asked the question in the course of an interview. he did not bring up the topic, but i brought up the topic because of kelly ann conway's remark. and my assumption, you never assume when you're a reporter, you ask the question, he would say kelly ann conway was right in the question and would move on but did not say that and because he did not say that, there was some new value in the comments and i think what we see from trump right now, and i spent about three hours with him on the plane. a candidate looking at the pulse constantly. he sees himself on the rise. i've covered him for almost five years with the birther episodes and this is a candidate also
running on his instincts, craig. he has advisors around him and jason miller with the statement and kelly ann, but it's trump alone at the end of the day. trump in the center with his gut listening to this but running on his instincts. >> do you get the sense based on all the time you spent with him, donald trump in his heart of hearts believed at one point that president obama wasn't actually a citizen of this country or do you think that donald trump saw this as an opportunity to endear himself with the significant chunk of conspiracy theorists out there? >> we're often asked this question. what was this about for donald trump? was it about publicity seeking? was it launching some kind of political profile that would lead to a presidential run? all i know as a reporter, you look at someone's actions whether it's donald trump or anyone else and he was consumed with this issue, not for months, but for years.
and whatever the motivation was, i'm not sure. he never really has spoken to me about that but we see him time after time before he launched his presidential campaign talking about president obama's birth, his credentials, his love of country. this is who trump is. that's his past. >> rick costa, katy tur, all those folks will stick around, we hope you will as well. we've got to take a quick break but a truly hair-raising moment on "jimmy fallon." take a look. >> can i mess your hair up? >> the answer is yes, but the people in new hampshire where i'm going to be in an hour from now, i hope they're going to understand. >> you say yes? >> go ahead. >> yes! at safelite, we know how busy life can be.
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barack obama was born in america, plain and simple, and donald trump owes him and the american people an apology. >> all right. this is an interesting juxtaposition we have here. democratic nominee for president, hillary clinton, about to walk up the stairs there, tarmac at reagan national airport heading to another campaign event. just a few moments ago, we saw her opponent, donald trump land at the same airport. she had an event that wrapped up about 30 minutes ago. that was less than a mile away from where donald trump is going
to be holding his event that is set to start any moment now. again, at this event, we are expecting, the event on the right side of your screen. a live picture there. we are expecting donald trump, to quote, make a big announcement about the birther issue. we should note that this is donald trump's new hotel in washington, dc. so this is in addition to being perhaps a campaign event, also a commercial of sorts. a long time democratic strategist bob shrum joins me now, a senior advisor to the kerry ann gohr campaign. professor of politics at university of southern california. thank you for being with me on a friday morning. >> good morning. >> let's talk about where we are. again, waiting on the republican nominee to say that president obama, we think, at least, he is going to be acknowledging that president obama was born in
hawaii as the white house has insisted all along. is this where you thought we'd be 50 days out from the general election? >> the idea it's a big announcement that president obama was born in this country is ridiculous. and i'm not sure it serves donald trump very well to spend a whole day on this or two days on this, but he's gotten himself into this situation. he could have said long ago the president was born in this country and in fact, i don't think it hurts him to say, look, i made a mistake. i was wrong about that, because -- >> how can you say that? how could he feasibly acknowledge that if he spent five or six years saying the opposite, or leading people to believe that he was okay with the opposite being said? i didn't say it, but others said the president was born in africa. >> i don't think he could ever say i didn't say it because he said it. i think he could say he was
wrong. and i think that would benefit him. because voters worry that this guy will never reverse himself, has a temperament and a stubbornness that's ill suited to the presidency of the united states. now, i don't think he'll say today he made a mistake. i think he'll say, i'm the one who forced him to produce his birth certificate, so he was born in the united states, so i should get the credit. he can't say, it's constitutionally in him to say, i think i was wrong. >> robert costa spent a great deal of time with donald trump and so has katy tur. robert, have you heard donald trump say he was wrong about anything? >> he did have that one statement of regret that was broad. did not get into specificities. >> katy tur, ever? >> no, i've never heard him say he was wrong about something. it's going to be surprising if he comes on stage and admits this, that he was incorrect or
proof out there, in fact, the president of the united states was born in the united states. but i'll point to this. robert who has been a long time confidant and one time aide to donald trump, somebody who still has his ear and talks to donald trump on a regular basis. i just did a radio show a couple of moments ago and the bottom line, he doesn't know. he's not sure. that's not the same i'm certain he was born in hawaii. that's basically what we've heard donald trump say about the birther issue now for the past year. refusing to say one way or the other whether he believes it, still, that he wasn't born here or whether he believes he was born here. it will be very surprising for me at least having covered him for as long as i have to see donald trump come up on stage and say the words "the president of the united states was born in the united states." i mean, to that effect, something that explicit. because that would be the first admission that he got something
wrong so far this campaign. we've heard him talk about the invasion of iraq a number of times and keeps saying over and over again he was against the invasion of iraq even though he's on the record before the invasion with some tepid support of it. nothing against that invasion, but he's continuing to say that. he's also talked about how he was against the idea of going into libya and taking out qadhafi against taking out mubarak in egypt. he's on the record for both of those things saying he was for it. he recorded his own video blog years ago while we were in the middle of that conflict or considering getting swinto that conflict. and he expressed a desire to take qaddafi out on video in iowa ohis
own video blog. not only glossed over issues where he's incorrect but outright said he's never said things we have video of him saying. so for him to come out and admit the birther issue he was wrong on is going to be surprising. doesn't make it go away, craig. i don't think it does. i mean, there are millions of americans who took great offense to that and especially when it was about the first african-american president in this country and there are millions of americans who won't just look at him today and say, oh, gosh. you're 53 days until november 9th and now you're saying it? there are americans out there who will believe this was politically expedient and the timing is in question. and the fact he's doing it at his dc hotel. i was taking a cab here and i mentioned to the cab driver that i was coming because donald trump was going to allegedly renounce birtherism and the woman laughed and said, of course, at his hotel. great publicity for his new property. so there are folks out there who are not convinced and that's
what donald trump needs to do. he needs to find a way to convince indpenlependents. his base is loyal to him. they are not going anywhere. he needs to find those independents, those soft republicans, or maybe even those very dissatisfied democrats. the polls are tightening. there's a suggestion he's finding a way to do that. we're going to see if that helps. this today, this press conference helps, but i'm not sure it's going to help him, you know, lose this idea that he was against the first african-american president and using what many saw and many called as a racist excuse not to support him. >> go ahead. >> it was striking about this moment, maybe katy, i'm curious on your thoughts. we're covering donald trump about eight weeks left in this campaign. and this is a central issue right now in the political debate in the country and so few republicans, the gop leadership is coming out and being a
heavyweight and urging him to do this or that, whether it's on president obama's birth or any kind of issue. trump has taken over the republican party so much so that even on these didnebates where lot of gops are nervous about this hurting them down ballot, no one wants the confrontation. it's waiting for trump. >> let's take a quick break. katy, hold your thought. we've got to take or squeeze in a quick break before this thing starts. don't forget what you were going to say because we'll start with you when we come back. this is msnbc the place for politics. this... or this. today, there's a new option. introducing drug-free aleve direct therapy. a tens device with high intensity power that uses technology once only available in doctors' offices. its wireless remote lets you control the intensity, and helps you get back to things like... this... this... or this. and back to being yourself.
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years, donald trump has not definitively said he believes president obama is actually a citizen of the united states. so he may make some news when he steps to the podium. that could happen any moment now. katy tur is inside that room. she may have to sit down any moment now. so katy, i'll start with you and let you pick up where you left off before the break. >> reporter: absolutely. as to what he was saying about republican leadership not distancing themselves and not coming out strongly to talk about the birther issue in recent days, part of the reason is that the republican leadership and republicans in general have been hounded by questions about trump on the hill whenever they go out to do a press conference or availability, wanting to talk about any issue. the questions surround their republican nominee. part of the reason is fatigue in answering questions about him. and robert costa was right to
point this out. republicans privately and even lindsey graham said this publicly, they underestimated who exactly was in their base, who were republicans and what they believed and the reality is paul ryan voter oftentimes is a donald trump voter. so if they push back against this republican nominee or disavow him, say i'll refuse to vote for him or not endorse him, they risk political down fafall backlash in their own states. there's only a handful of republicans who said forcefully they don't agree with donald trump's rhetoric. in arizona, one of the loudest, up for reelection this year. and a really tight race in new hampshire this year but goes to show you, and underscores just how politically motivated everything is in this country in
order to get reelected. you can't speak your mind publicly because you're worried about alienating your base, even though you may vehemently disagree with your nominee and i have spoken to republicans who believe this. they say they don't agree with the majority of what he says and maybe are worried about donald trump. but these are things they can't say publicly because they want to get reelected. and that goes for the democratic side also. this is not a uniquely republican thing but certainly exacerbated by this particular nominee because he's captured voters in the republican party in a way that people really haven't until now. he's been able to say whatever he wants. nothing has been political kryptonite for him. he's constantly making outrageous statements and nobody is leaving him. it puts the republican party and republican senators, congressmen leadership in a tough position. >> katy tur inside the room. she is using her inside voice
because our producers there on the ground have given us the heads up that donald trump is in the building. we expect him to take the podium any moment now. euni eunice, you were going to chime in before the break as well. >> i think part of the political power of donald trump, and part of the reason he's done so well this political season is because he can say stuff and do things like make a big announcement that president obama was born in this country or just flatly say things like, i did not support the war in iraq. because and really go unchallenged, in some ways, when reporters challenge him and push back, say this is what you said, the american electorate are still supporting him and i think that's something that hillary clinton is going to have to figure out how to push back against. the idea in these debates that we're going to see, he's going to be able to say these different things and even if she pushes back, is it going to matter? it's really hard to understand how someone like this and someone like donald trump can go on stage and say, you know, i do
believe that maybe president obama was born in the united states or i really do believe that, you know, the war in iraq, i wasn't against it and not really be able to be hurt politically. any other candidate in the past has really had a problem when it came to flip-flopping. hillary clinton has had to say, i made a mistake with my e-mails and voting for the war in iraq and really been held to a different standard. and her voters, when i talk on the ground, people are weary of hillary clinton because of those things. they say, do i believe she really is going for the thing she's saying now, something like the tpp, the idea of trade policies right now. said she's against the tpp but do i believe it because she's changed her mind so much. but donald trump supporters, when i said, what do you think about him changing his mind? he's not really a politician. he's an amateur. his issues are evolving. so they're giving him a pass and i think that's important. his supporters are not stuck to the idea what he said he has, he
has to say tomorrow and hillary clinton supporters are asking her to stick to issues. >> we should note here for our listeners as well, president obama has apparently just talked about this birther issue again. he did that from the oval office. we are working on turning that tape around. we'll get that to you in mere moments. we should also note that this morning before the broadcast, we decided we would hop on the whitehouse.gov web site and lo and behold, they posted the president's birth certificate. it's been up for some time. there it is again on whitehouse.gov. a few years ago, president obama felt compelled to hold a news conference of sorts and basically hold it up himself and say, hey, this is it. i don't have it right here but it's somewhere in this stack of papers. i want to bring rick tyler back into the conversation. donald trump was pro choice at one point and this morning, he
unveiled his pro-life coalition. the deportation force and the muslim ban, maybe not. for five or six years, he was the face of the birther movement and now, perhaps, maybe not. what does all of this say about donald trump's political soul? >> it says he has no underlying governing principle. he is not guided by any ideology. the birther thing was political opportunism. side by side, most of the networks were donald trump, sorry, president obama giving a press conference about his birth certificate and it was a split screen. it's very rare that someone would ever share a split screen with the president of the united states but donald trump managed it and on longer than the president did.
it's very strange, craig, because, you know, politically, what i would advise a candidate to do is reverse a position, let's get this in some publication not widely spread and then we can always point to it and say, oh, he did this three years ago. he has none of that on record and here he is, a big huge announcement and it would be strange for him to come out in a huge announcement to reverse himself. i think that's fairly unprecedented. >> robert costa, you share that opinion, don't you? >> i was struck when i was covering donald trump in flint and he had the conversation with the pastor. most politicians when they're interrupted and trying to appeal as a republican to a minority audience, they'd be skittish or uncomfortable. but trump seemed to relish the drama. i was shadowing him and reminded me with the birther issue, the pastor, this is a candidate who loves the fight, who loves
drama. often for the worst but sometimes i guess for the better that he's a combative populist type of politician. but he does not follow the traditional norms or the way republican campaigns and presidential campaigns are normally run. >> but this idea that eunice just raised, bob, this idea he's perhaps held to a different standard. that he can say one thing and then in some cases, two or three days later, say something entirely different and the electorate, the citizenry, not seeming to care at least a great deal if you gleaned a lot of the polls that are out there. what do you make of that idea? >> as a reporter, you have to just let the facts speak. regardless of what trump says today, his history on this particular issue will continue to be that history and voters will have to decide whether donald trump says today on a friday morning in washington represents who donald trump is or whether his experiences in
the past represent who trump is. >> hillary clinton, the democratic nominee for president, the top of the hour here. we showed you those comments she had just made in washington, dc, less than a mile from the box on the left side of your screen. she called on donald trump to apologize for all of this birther stuff. no indication that he is going to do that, but any moment now, we expect he will take to the podium to make what he is calling, at least, via twitter, a big announcement. we have surmised that this big announcement will be related in part to the idea that president obama is not a citizen of the united states of america. bob, i want to get your take on some headlines here and i want to show our viewers. these were the headlines, roughly a month ago. and these are headlines from various papers this morning.
i believe we could show some of these and i'll read a few of them to you. "new york times," as clinton and trump race tightens, here's how forecast models differ. trump's chance of election rising and ohio poll, a narrow lead over clinton. that's today. today. a month ago, could trump drop out of the race? trump critics urging the rnc to do something. what has happened to hillary clinton's campaign, bob? she spent roughly $100 million on ads and they don't seem to be moving the needle a great deal. >> well, i think the ads have a long-term purpose and they'll have a long-term impact. excuse me. and i don't have pneumonia, by the way. >> well played. >> but i think they have a long-term impact, those ads. i think donald trump is experiencing a false springtime for his candidacy. i say that, a., because hillary clinton has had a terrible
couple of weeks culminating with non-disclosure of the pneumonia and collapsing at the world trade center. and number two -- >> let me cut you off. go to president obama quickly. >> i'll give in. >> you were born in america. >> i, jonathan, have no reaction and i'm shocked that a question like that would come up at a time when we've got so many other things to do. i'm not that shocked, actually. it's fairly typical. we got other business to attend to. i was pretty confident about where i was born. i think most people were as well. and my hope would be that the presidential election reflects more serious issues than that. all right? thank you very much. appreciate it, everybody. thank you. >> president obama just a few moments ago, once again from the oval office declaring he is, in fact, a citizen of this country. saying he never had any doubt
about where he was born. bob, i'll let you pick up where you were leaving off there. >> i think trump has fundamental demographic problems. not only with minorities and hispanics and african-americans, where, by the way, he's not going to pick up a substantial share of the vote no matter what he says today about birtherism. this is aimed at independents. that people out there who are wondering whether the guy has the temperament to be president. but given the demographic realities, i'd say the one real danger hillary clinton has is the millennial voters whom she needs will go vote for a third party candidate. i believe that's unlikely as we move toward finally making a decision because those millennials very strongly believe that donald trump should never be president of the united states. >> bob shrum there. again, hillary clinton's plane, as you can see there, bottom of the screen. reagan national airport, northern virginia. she is prepared to take off.
donald trump landed roughly 30 minutes ago. we're told he's in the building. we expect him to address the crowd that has assembled in that room any moment now. robert costa from "the washington post" in the room right now, rick tyler and bob shrum. bob costa, let me come back to you. this issue has been talked about a fair amount on social media. how much of this is simply donald trump beating his chest in front of his new big shiny building? >> i think we always need to remember about covering donald trump, even though he's the republican presidential come kne nominee, he continues to run the trump organization. he's presented with leases. he's still working with this company and also promoting his property. this is a salesman as well as a business owner and we saw the comments on the other network this morning. he said, i want to keep up the suspense about this issue. and this is what comes out of the reality television world.
someone who understands hollywood, who sometimes lives by that maxim that as long as you're in the news or the headline, you're winning. so right now, trump has it all. he has his property debuting in dc. he's on every network. he's at the center. >> yunish, i think this bears repeating and delved into more. for a lot of folks, this isn't about a birth certificate or donald trump being the leader of a birther movement. a group of whack adoodles out there in this country who don't believe that the president was necessarily born here. this is about delegitimizing the first black president of the united states of america. that's what it's about for a lot of folks. i don't know how you shake that. >> i don't know how you shake that either. just as i've been on with you, i've gotten e-mails from several voters and people who say, i
don't care what he says. this is not going to go away. the idea is he really, as you mentioned before, dug into this issue. he was sending out tweets and say, i think the birth certificate president obama sent out was a fraud or this person died suspiciously. i think they have long memories and understand he really was trying to delegitimize the first african-american president and the fact the sitting president has to have his birth certificate up on whitehouse.com or whitehouse.gov said this president was very much disrespected by donald trump and i think that's something very hard to shake and i could tell you even when i don't bring up the birther issue, when i ask african-americans, could you vote for donald trump? i spent a lot of time at the detroit church where he spoke to this month and they said, it goes back to the fact when president obama was going into office, when the nation was really celebrating this historic moment, donald trump was saying,
no, this isn't real and he should be taken out of office because he wasn't born in this country and that's something that really, i think, is going to scar his campaign, at least for african-american voters and for immigrant voters but i should also say when i talk to pulsers, this has a really big impact on suburban white voters. suburban white voters think, is this the person i want to be running my country? their kids go to school with people of color and african-americans. they work with african-americans. so while we say that, you know, a black voter is upset about this birther issue, a lot of americans, liberal americans and moderate republicans are upset about the fact he treated president obama in this way. >> rick tyler. i want to revisit an idea that came up earlier in the hour here, again, as we wait for this big announcement on the birther issue. from the strategic standpoint, you've got the basket of deplorables comment. you've got questions about her
health. he's surging in some battleground polls, he's surging nationally as well. from a strategic standpoint, help us understand why donald trump would allow a story like this to dominate the news cycle for 24 or 36 or maybe even 48 hours? >> it is a little bit inexplicable. the only thing i can account for is the campaign really wants to get beyond this issue and so you've got rudy giuliani, probably the chief surrogate for donald trump. you've had jason miller, the senior communications advisor who issued a statement saying he absolutely believes barack obama was born in the united states and then you have kelly ann conway say, similarly, but then when confronted by reporter bob costas, he refuses to say it. so in a sense, i think bob is right and trying to draw attention and sort of emblematic the way he does this. but craig, i think we're going
to get, i don't think anyone will be fully satisfied out of this press conference. i don't know, but i just don't think he'll come full out and say he was wrong and apologize or somehow split the difference. he may even blame it on the clinton campaign. >> they did in the release last night, bob costa, but could say, if it wasn't for me, we wouldn't know that the president was actually a united states citizen. i mean, this could be a victory lap of sorts. >> it could be. i think he personally is taking credit for the birth certificate for a long time and surrounds himself with people who has for president obama. michael flynn, one of the toughest critics of the obama administration who was in the obama administration, the head of the defense intelligence agency, now a top advisor to donald trump, rudy giuliani, the former new york mayor, general flynn, trump surrounds himself with people like trump. who take the same view of president obama, deeply
skeptical and very, very critical. >> robert costa who spent the better part of eight hours with donald trump earlier this week. his reporting, part of the impetus for the conversation we're having. always good to have you, robert. thank you so much for your time. bob shrum, democratic strategist out there for us in california. rick tyler, msnbc political analyst. yunisha cinder with the new york times. and katy tur is not accessible but donald trump expected to take to the podium any moment now for this major statement. i'll hand over things to my colleague, peter alexander in washington, dc. pete? >> thank you. we are awaiting donald trump as we have been telling you to speak at his washington, dc hotel. the trump international hotel as it's being billed is