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Donald Trump backs off his longstanding embrace of the false assertion that President Obama was born outside the U.S.

Donald Trump finally concedes that Obama was born in the U.S.

 (Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images)
(Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images)

Donald Trump, who for years has stoked unfounded conspiracies about President Obama’s birthplace, said Friday that he is now convinced the president is an American-born citizen.

"President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period. Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again," he said, then walked offstage after a 30-minute event consisting mostly of praise for him from veterans and Medal of Honor recipients.

He also incorrectly blamed Hillary Clinton for fueling the birther controversy. No evidence exists that Clinton or her 2008 campaign team, when she ran against Obama in a prolonged fight for the Democratic nomination, did so.

Trump was under increasing pressure to distance himself from the controversy, which helped fuel his rise but also aligned him with white nationalists and alienated many mainstream voters. Trump refused to concede regarding Obama’s American birthplace as recently as Thursday.

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