TIME Donald Trump

Read Donald Trump’s Speech Finally Admitting President Obama Was Born in the U.S.

Trump International Hotel Event
Tom Williams—CQ-Roll Call,Inc./Getty Images Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump attends a campaign event with veterans at the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Ave., NW, on Sept. 16, 2016.

Donald Trump on Friday briefly addressed the “birther” conspiracy—of which he was long one of the most vocal proponents—and acknowledged that President Obama was born in the United States.

At a media event billed as an announcement about his stance on Obama’s birthplace, Trump spent most of the time discussing his new Washington, D.C., hotel and introducing members of the military who are supporting his presidential campaign.

Trump only mentioned the birther issue in about 40 words at the end of his speech, falsely saying that Hillary Clinton started the birther movement in 2008 and that he was the one to end it. There is no evidence that Clinton or her campaign ever pushed the birther argument, and Trump continued to raise questions about Obama’s birth long after Obama’s full birth certificate was released.

Here are Trump’s full remarks:

TRUMP: Thank you very much, everybody. Please sit down. Nice hotel.

(LAUGHTER)

Under budget and ahead of schedule, isn’t that nice?

(APPLAUSE)

Now, it is a great honor. This is a brand-new ballroom. You only see a small piece of it because we have it broken down, but this is — the hotel is completed, we’ll be having our opening ceremony in October, and it’s going to be something very special. It’s such an honor to have our first event. This is our first event. And…

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: … it’s such an honor to have our first event for Medal of Honor winners. I mean, they are the finest. And…

(APPLAUSE)

… to get so many endorsements from the Medal of Honor winners is incredible and I look forward to spending a lot of time — come here.

(LAUGHTER)

Don’t worry (ph).

(APPLAUSE)

They have a lot more courage than I do, I will say that all the time. But it is such an honor to have this particular ceremony be the first ceremony because I think when the hotel opens officially, it will be one of the great hotels anywhere in the world.

And I want to thank the GSA, General Services, they are — they have been spectacular. These are spectacular people. These are tremendously talented people. All of the workers, all of the construction folks, all of the managers, the hotel staff, amazing, amazing how good our country can do when we want to do it.

But we have put in tremendous amounts of work and energy and money and I really believe, I said this will be the best hotel in Washington. I think it may be one of the great hotels anywhere in the world, that’s the way it turned out. So really honored to have this as our first event.

(APPLAUSE)

So I’m pleased to be here this morning with two Medal of Honor recipients and a six flags, OK six flag and general officers. We have a tremendous amount of talent here, a lot of generals and General Kellogg, General Flynn. We have just — the room is stacked with generals and talented people and leaders. I love leaders. The great people represent 120 flag and general officer endorsements, 120.

(APPLAUSE)

And that number is going up very rapidly. And now 17 Medal of Honor recipients. In addition — that’s a tremendous amount of very, very brave people. In addition, I’m honored to be joined by the many veterans that are supporting us all throughout the room, thank you very much for being here.

(APPLAUSE)

I’m also honored to have a Gold Star wife, Jane Horton here, and Jane is with us this morning. Jane, where is Jane?

(APPLAUSE)

Please stand, thank you Jane. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

Incredible. Jane lost her husband, Specialist Chris Horton, in Afghanistan on September 9th, 2011. And Jane, it’s such an honor to have you here and I hear so many things about Chris and he was a winner and thank you very much on behalf of the country, thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

It’s incredibly humbling to be in the company of these real and true heroes. I have the privilege to introduce our first Medal of Honor recipient, Mike Thornton. Mike is a retired United States Navy SEAL, a tough cookie, and a recipient of the United States military’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor for, his actions in Vietnam — the Vietnam War.

In addition, he is the recipient of a Silver Star, three Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart. I’m proud to have him on my team. Such a great honor for me.

And also, fellow recipient Bob Patterson, who likewise has the Medal of Honor, who is also here. We have 17 Medal of Honor recipients and they’ve all endorsed me for president of the United States and I have been endorsed by generals and many other generals have become very good friends of mine.

TRUMP: We seem to have a very good chemistry together, but even the generals admit, there is something very special about Medal of Honor recipients. So Mike, if I might ask you to just say hello, come up, say a couple of words. And I thank you very much for being here.

(APPLAUSE)

(BREAK IN COVERAGE)

TRUMP: Thank you, everybody.

(APPLAUSE)

AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA!

TRUMP: Thank you, everybody. Please sit down. Thank you. This is such an amazing honor, and the difference is we want to all get back to work, whether it’s building our military or building our country. We have to get back to work. We have a lot of work to do. We’ve been very much left behind, speaking with the admirals and generals and all the military people.

We talk about the word depletion. The military has been so badly treated in terms of its equipment and the money being spent, and this is a time where we need our military perhaps more than ever. When you look at the number of ships, you look at the number of military personnel, you look at the numbers are setting records for all time lows, we can’t have that. There’s a world out there, and it’s not nice to say, but there are a lot of very, very evil people heading up some potentially very strong countries.

We have to be prepared. We have to keep our country so great and so strong. And that’s why to have all the support from so many generals, so many admirals, people I respect so much, they’re smart, they’re tough, they know what’s happening. And I believe in them totally, and that’s why the fact that they believe in me is one of the great honors of my life. So I want to thank everybody. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, not to mention her in the same breath, but Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it. I finished it. You know what I mean. President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period. Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again.

Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you, everybody. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

Tap to read full story

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com


YOU BROKE TIME.COM!

Dear TIME Reader,

As a regular visitor to TIME.com, we are sure you enjoy all the great journalism created by our editors and reporters. Great journalism has great value, and it costs money to make it. One of the main ways we cover our costs is through advertising.

The use of software that blocks ads limits our ability to provide you with the journalism you enjoy. Consider turning your Ad Blocker off so that we can continue to provide the world class journalism you have become accustomed to.

The TIME Team