Mike Pence said in a local television interview aired on Wednesday that his running mate Donald Trump no longer questions President Obama's citizenship.
“Those are issues of the past," the Republican vice presidential nominee said in the interview with ABC7 WWSB which was posted online Thursday. "Donald Trump and I both accept that the president was born in the United States of America. Questions were raised in prior campaigns over the last 4 and 8 years by various sources. And they’ve all been answered.”
Trump, who in 2011 and 2012 was a leader of the birther movement that peddled conspiracy theories about Obama's birthplace, has not retracted his skepticism that the president was born in the United States.
Pence was also asked in the interview about former Secretary of State Colin Powell's comment in private emails leaked this week that the birther theories were "racist."
“Well, look, I think those are all the issues of the past," he replied. "What we’re talking about in Scranton today as the crowd is gathering here tonight, what Donald Trump is talking about in Michigan and will be in Ohio tonight is really the future. We’re talking about this country. We’re talking about rebuilding American strength at home and abroad. I certainly have great, great respect for Secretary Powell and I know those emails came out today and he expressed frustration with Hillary Clinton as well.”
Pence was also asked about the birther issue earlier this week by CNN's Wolf Blitzer. In that interview, he said, ""You know, we're just not talking about that issue. It's a four-year-old issue."
In the interview on Wednesday, Pence also said Trump would release his tax returns after an audit was complete, though there is no rule preventing Trump from releasing them beforehand.
"He’ll release those tax returns as soon as that routine audit is completed and the American people have access to that as they do with my tax returns already," Pence said. "But look, that piece in Newsweek is just the latest example of the kind of hit journalism that frankly we’re seeing often from the national media in this campaign.”
Christopher Massie is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Christopher Massie at Christopher.Massie@buzzfeed.com.
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