Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump takes part in a rally at the James L. Knight Center in Miami, Florida on September 16, 2016. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN
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After years of fueling conspiracy theories, Republican White House nominee Donald Trump admitted Friday that President Barack Obama is an American as he tried to neutralize damaging charges of racism.The mogul-turned-politico pointedly did not apologize, nor did he walk back similarly baseless claims that Obama -- whose father was a Kenyan Muslim -- founded the violent Islamic State group.Instead, he tried to pin blame for "birtherism" on his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, whom he accused, without evidence, of starting the movement that questions Obama's nationality and right to be president.The White House has long viewed Trump's claims as a racist attempt to delegitimize the president.Five years on, now in a tight presidential election race, Trump's position has become a liability, repulsing black, Hispanic and moderate voters whose support he needs to win the Oval Office.The controversy reignited Thursday when Trump again demurred on Obama's citizenship, forcing his campaign into damage control.Trump's Democratic rival Hillary Clinton jumped on the statement as more evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.Appearing at the White House Correspondents' Dinner shortly after, he publicly ridiculed Trump, who was in the audience.
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