DICKERSON: I would like to move on to a position that Mr. Trump held for five years, that Barack Obama was not born in the United States. He changed that position on Friday. Why?CONWAY: Well, on Friday, he made very clear three things, number one, that it was Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton’s chief strategist and pollster, who put President Obama’s citizenship in question when he wrote a famous memo in March of 2007 questioning his — quote — “American roots,” saying, at a time of war, how could we elect someone like this? It was pretty radical stuff.And, then, of course, even Patti Solis Doyle, who was Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager in 2008, John, until she was fired by Hillary Clinton, admitted on Friday to Wolf Blitzer that she said, yes, these are her words. There was a volunteer in Iowa who was pushing this.And so this started with Hillary Clinton’s campaign, number one. Number two, it was Donald Trump who put the issue to rest when he got President Obama to release his birth certificate years later.And, number three, he said that President Obama was born in this country, period, and let’s move on to creating jobs, defeating radical Islam, rebuilding our inner cities. And that’s what he said.DICKERSON: The reason I want to stick on this a little bit is he promoted this for five years. So, this isn’t just some passing notion. This was a considerable amount of energy and time and money that he spent promoting this idea. . . .So, I go back to my original question. Why did he change his mind, and when did he do it?CONWAY: Well, Donald Trump was not running for president against — in a bruising, vicious primary in 2008 against Hillary — against Barack Obama.Hillary Clinton was. And you know that the former D.C. bureau chief of McClatchy newspaper, a respected journalist, just on Friday, John, said that he was approached, he had a meeting with Sid Blumenthal, what is a very close confidant of both Clintons and then was on the payroll of the Clinton Foundation thereafter, he had a meeting with him where Sid Blumenthal allegedly told him that President Obama was not born in this country and to go check it out. So, the idea that Clinton — that people around Hillary Clinton were not responsible for this, Donald Trump in 2007 and 2008, while the Clintons folks were pushing this theory, he was a successful businessman. He was building things.(CROSSTALK)DICKERSON: But, Kellyanne, he’s asked us to go back and look at things that he said about foreign policy back in 2003, to draw conclusions about his judgment.So, things he said in the private sector, something he spent five years promoting, you said he got the birth certificate released and that put an end to it. But it didn’t put an end to it for him. For years after the birth certificate was released, he continued to question it, continued to question whether Barack Obama was born in the United States and whether the birth certificate was a fraud.So, when the campaign puts out a statement and says he ended in 2011, and you have asserted that today, that’s just not the truth, is it?CONWAY: No, I didn’t say that.What I’m saying is, is that it was President Obama released his birth certificate in 2011. Nobody accuses Hillary Clinton with Mariano Rivera. She’s not a good closer. And she wasn’t on this issue at all.Associates of Hillary Clinton started pushing the issue because Barack Obama came out of nowhere to them. They never expected him to rise in the polls, let alone beat her in her Democratic primary, where a vast majority of voters, by the way, were female and rejected her in that year, just like they didn’t see Bernie Sanders coming and just like they didn’t see our comeback of the Trump campaign coming.DICKERSON: Let me ask you, Kellyanne…CONWAY: She’s not known to be a closer. She’s not known to be good at recapturing momentum. And that proved it.DICKERSON: So, I understand you wanted to talk about Hillary Clinton, and this is an election about a choice. That’s important.But it’s also about whether people can trust the candidate who may become president one day and who may send people to die in a war. And so, just on this question of trust, Donald Trump advocated something for five years that was a lie. Why did he do that?CONWAY: Well, you’re going to have to ask him.But I — again, I think that this is a sideshow now that the media seem obsessed with this John, respectfully. And, again, he put everything out on the table on Friday. Those are his words. He does things on his term, on his timeline, and he very crisply got to the microphone after honoring 14 gold medal recipients and also after — after — after showing all these veterans that supported us, our campaign. We were very proud to stand with them in Washington, D.C. . . .DICKERSON: I understand, but he did spend five years on it, so it would be — it would be something — we would be remiss if we didn’t pay some attention to something that he spent so many years advocating and promoting.
September 19, 2016 at 10:15 AM EDT