Trump on what Solis Doyle said: Did Hillary Clinton and/or her campaign start the birther movement?
Inevitably, that seemed to be what Donald Trump told Lester Holt last night. Through Holt, he told the nation. Below, you see Trump's response to Holt's first question about his five-year reign as the nation's Birther King:
HOLT (9/26/16): Mr. Trump, for five years, you perpetuated a false claim that the nation's first black president was not a natural-born citizen. You questioned his legitimacy. In the last couple of weeks, you acknowledged what most Americans have accepted for years: The president was born in the United States. Can you tell us what took you so long?As far as we know, Trump was speaking in English. Also, we've checked the transcript against the videotape. That's what Trump actually said.
TRUMP: I'll tell you very— Well, just very simple to say. Sidney Blumenthal works for the campaign and close, very close friend of Secretary Clinton. And her campaign manager, Patti Doyle, went to—during the campaign, her campaign against President Obama, fought very hard, and you can go look it up, and you can check it out, and if you look at CNN this past week, Patti Solis Doyle was on Wolf Blitzer saying that this happened. Blumenthal sent McClatchy, highly respected reporter at McClatchy, to Kenya to find out about it. They were pressing it very hard.
She failed to get the birth certificate. When I got involved, I didn't fail. I got him to give the birth certificate. So I'm satisfied with it.
Anyone who watched that exchange would come away with a certain impression. That viewer would think that Solis Doyle told Blitzer last week that Blumenthal, a close Clinton friend, got McClatchy News to send someone to Kenya to check out the birther claim.
Anyone who watched that exchange would have gotten that clear impression. Omigod! Solis Doyle, Clinton's (former) campaign manager, went on CNN and said it was true! "Patti Solis Doyle was on Wolf Blitzer saying that this happened!"
Trump made similar jumbled claims in his next few exchanges. We thought you might want to see what Solis Doyle actually said to Blitzer on the program in question.
In fact, Solis Doyle said nothing about Blumenthal at all when she spoke with Blitzer. He was never mentioned. Nor did she somehow admit that Clinton or the Clinton campaign started the birther lunacy. In essence, she said precisely the opposite.
Go ahead! Read what Trump told Holt again. Then, read this, the transcript of what what Solis Doyle (and Blitzer) actually said:
BLITZER (9/16/16): Let's get reaction from Patti Solis Doyle, Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign manager back in 2007 and 2008. Patti, thanks for joining us.Blumenthal was never mentioned, not one way or the other. (He has flatly denied this claim.) Despite what Donald J. Trump said to Lester, Blumenthal was never mentioned at all.
DOYLE: Thanks so much for having me, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. You just tweeted a couple tweets. Let me put them up on the screen. "Hillary Clinton or her '08 campaign did not start birther movement, period. I was there." Then another tweet, "I fired the rogue and I called David Plouffe to apologize for said rogue."
What does that mean? You fired someone in the campaign, someone supporting Hillary Clinton was trying to promote this so-called birther issue? What happened?
SOLIS DOYLE: So absolutely, the campaign nor Hillary did not start the birther movement, period, end of the story there. There was a volunteer coordinator, I believe in late 2007, I think in December, one of our volunteer coordinators in one of the counties in Iowa, I don't recall whether they were an actual paid staffer, but they did forward an e-mail that promoted the conspiracy. Hillary—
BLITZER: The birther conspiracy?
SOLIS DOYLE: Yeah. Hillary made the decision immediately to let that person go. We let that person go. And it was so, you know, beyond the pale, Wolf. And so not worthy of the kind of campaign that certainly Hillary wanted to run or that we, as a staff, wanted to run that I called David Plouffe, obviously managing Barack Obama's campaign, in '07, to apologize, and basically say that this is, was not coming from us. It was a rogue volunteer coordinator and this was not the kind of campaign we wanted to run. And David graciously accepted my apology.
BLITZER: What about Mark Penn, the Democratic pollster that a lot of us know here in Washington? What was he promoting in the memorandum he put forward?
SOLIS DOYLE: I don't— can you be specific about the memorandum you're talking about? He wrote many memorandum.
BLITZER: A memorandum that was supposedly raising not necessarily the birthplace of then-Senator Barack Obama, but raising other questions about his religion, stuff like that. It was sort of a dark-filled memorandum circulating at the time. You know Mark Penn?
SOLIS DOYLE: I do know Mark Penn very well. Obviously, a chief strategist for the '08 campaign. We worked together on the '08 campaign. I don't know what he wrote but certainly the '08 campaign never promoted the birther conspiracy. Whether we took whatever advice was in the memorandum is clear by the campaign we ran. We did not use it at that time.
BLITZER: Yeah. Everything I have looked, I've looked into this pretty thoroughly. There's never a reference to the birther issue as all in that memorandum. There are other dark things. By all accounts that memorandum never went anywhere and was rejected and no one in any serious capacity in the Hillary Clinton campaign started or circulated or tried to promote the birther issue. That's a very sensitive issue, because you hear the Donald Trump campaign now saying this whole thing started with your campaign, and you're flatly denying that?
SOLIS DOYLE: Absolutely. And the one person who did promote it, again, it was a volunteer coordinator, and I can't even speak to the fact whether that person was on actual payroll. Hillary made the decision to let that person go immediately.
BLITZER: Patti, thank you so much for joining us.
SOLIS DOYLE: Thank you so much.
Far from "saying that this happened," Solis Doyle flatly denied the campaign's involvement in birtherism, except for some behavior by an Iowa volunteer who was instantly fired. As a simple matter of fact (remember facts?), Solis Doyle didn't "say that this happened" at all!
If we were NBC multimillionaire Holt, we wouldn't be happy with the idea that we'd been handed such a giant pile before tens of millions of viewers.
Will Holt perform a fact-check tonight? Does the public deserve to be told how bogus Trump's bogus claim was?