This post has been updated.
Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence said Wednesday that he accepts the fact that President Obama was born in the United States -- even as the man he is running alongside still conspicuously hasn't.
"I believe Barack Obama was born in Hawaii," Pence told reporters, according to an NBC News transcript. "I accept his birthplace."
His statement, combined with top Trump surrogate Ben Carson's call Tuesday for Trump to apologize for his past embrace of birtherism, should increase pressure on Trump to address questions about just how much he still questions Obama's birthplace.
Birtherism hasn't been a big part of Trump's 2016 campaign. But that's largely a matter of emphasis -- not any change in his position.
And in fact, if you look at his comments, Trump is basically as much of a birther as he was before, with the exact same point of view framed in more or less the exact same way: He's just a guy who asks questions.
When he led the effort a few years ago to question whether Obama was actually born in the United States and was eligible to be president, Trump never technically said, "Barack Obama wasn't born in the United States." He never had to.
He never said otherwise, either -- and still hasn't. To this day, he has never said that those questions have been laid to rest. Now, he just tries to change the subject instead.
"I don't talk about it, because if I talk about that, your whole thing will be about that," Trump said Monday. "So I don't talk about it."
He doesn't say it's a non-issue, mind you; he says it's an issue he'd rather not talk about.
That's an answer he's been giving for a while now. Here's Trump in May: "I don't talk about it anymore, because whenever I talk about it, it becomes a story."
And here's what he told CNN back in June: "I don't talk about it. You know why I don't talk about it? Because once I talk about it, that's all they want to write about. So I don't ever talk about it."
Trump added: "And I would love to. But if I do talk about it, then what happens is that takes up -- then we're not talking about the horrible economy. We're not talking about real unemployment in this country, which is close to 20 percent, when you add all the people that have given up looking for jobs. We're not talking about ISIS."
So to recap: Trump won't say anything because we would all write about it too much. (This, mind you, from a guy whose campaign has been one big, long series of controversies and distractions.) But he "would love to" say something.
Every time this issue comes up again, Trump backers have the same response: Why are we bringing up old news? The answer: Because Trump led the effort to question the legitimacy of the president of the United States, and he's never said he was satisfied with the answer he got. Until he does, his operating stance on this issue is that he still questions whether the president was born in this country.
When Obama in 2011 produced his long-form Hawaiian birth certificate in the name of putting all of the conspiracy theories to rest, Trump congratulated himself, but he never said he was satisfied.
"Today, I am very proud of myself because I have accomplished something that nobody else has been able to accomplish," Trump said back in April 2011. "I was just informed, while on the helicopter, that our president has finally released a birth certificate. ... He should have done it a long time ago."
And in fact, in June 2015, Trump pretty clearly raised the questions all over again. CNN's Anderson Cooper asked Trump whether he is now saying Obama was born in the United States.
"No. I don't know. I really don't know," Trump said. "I mean, I don't know why he wouldn't release his records. But you know, honestly, I don't want to get in it. He came up with this thing, all of a sudden. Remember this one thing. I'm only going to get one thing because I'm about jobs, the economy, and I'm about the military and taking care of all that.
That "one thing" is apparently Obama's birth certificate. And Trump in that interview cast a significant amount of doubt about just what it proved and why Obama doesn't release more proof. And this is all what Trump said when he was launching his 2016 campaign, more than five years after he first raised the issue.
The reason journalists keep asking him about it is because his position isn't clear. The extremely bold charge he made several years ago -- something he repeated over and over again -- stands as his point of view until he says otherwise. Just like Obama took the opportunity to put to rest a story that he didn't want to talk about by releasing his birth certificate, Trump has repeatedly had the chance to say that his questions about Obama's birthplace have been satisfied.
Rather than take that chance, Trump continues to feed the idea that he has doubts. Until he indicates otherwise, it's hard to say he no longer believes in this stuff. And that's not old news.