World Bulletin / News Desk
“I finished it,” Trump said during an event in Washington DC. “President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period.”
He then said he would like to focus on issues “to make America strong again”, a variation of his campaign slogan.
The billionaire accused his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton of starting the controversy surrounding the president’s birthplace in her 2008 campaign when she and Obama were rivals.
Trump has been one of the leading voices in the controversy since 2011 that many view as an attempt to delegitimize the presidency of the nation’s first black president.
During primary elections to choose the Republican nominee, Trump and Texas lawmaker Ted Cruz, who dropped out of the presidential race earlier this year, reignited the controversy.
Trump’s reversal comes less than two weeks before the first presidential debate later this month and, as he tries to reach out to black voters – a demographic where his polling numbers are in the low single digits.
Former presidential candidate, Ben Carson, who is black and is now an adviser to Trump, recently urged him to apologize for the so-called “birther” issue.
Trump on Friday offered no apology or explanation as to why he promoted the birther issue. Neither did he give a reason for the change in his thinking.
Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961, just two years after the island in the Pacific Ocean became a U.S. state.
He stayed above the fray when asked about it at the White House on Friday.
"I'm shocked that a question like that would come up at a time when we've got so many other things to do. Well, I'm not that shocked actually — it's fairly typical,” he said shortly before a meeting.
He added that he was “pretty confident” about where he was born, calling for the presidential election to focus on more serious issues.