Trump didn’t start the Birther campaign, but he did give it too much credence for too long. I acknowledge that he was wrong to do so, but probably believed it. There is considerable evidence that the Birther movement was started by hard-core Clinton Supporters in 2008, and that her chief strategist, Mark Penn took advantage of the controversy. “Penn suggested (to Clinton) how the campaign might take advantage of this. “Every speech should contain the line that you were born in the middle of America to the middle class in the middle of the last century,” he advised Clinton. “And talk about the deeply American values you grew up with, learned as a child, and that drive you today.” He went on: “Let’s explicitly own ‘American’ in our programs, the speeches and the values. He doesn’t … His roots to basic American values and culture are at best limited.”
Clinton never directly accused Obama of being born outside the US, but her campaign sought to take advantage of his perception of being un-American.