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Donald Trump can’t lie his way out of being a birther.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

He has yet to renounce his birtherism, but his campaign is clearly trying to extricate him from a position that is widely hated outside his core base of supporters. Various Trump surrogates, including running mate Mike Pence and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, have announced that he is no longer a birther, although they don’t explain why he doesn’t say so himself.

Last night the Trump campaign released a curious statement, that reads in part:

Hillary Clinton’s campaign first raised this issue to smear then-candidate Barack Obama in her very nasty, failed 2008 campaign for President. This type of vicious and conniving behavior is straight from the Clinton Playbook. As usual, however, Hillary Clinton was too weak to get an answer. Even the MSNBC show Morning Joe admits that it was Clinton’s henchmen who first raised this issue, not Donald J. Trump.

In 2011, Mr. Trump was finally able to bring this ugly incident to its conclusion by successfully compelling President Obama to release his birth certificate. Mr. Trump did a great service to the President and the country by bringing closure to the issue that Hillary Clinton and her team first raised. Inarguably, Donald J. Trump is a closer. Having successfully obtained President Obama’s birth certificate when others could not, Mr. Trump believes that President Obama was born in the United States.

As a number of commentators have pointed out, virtually every assertion in this statement is a lie: Hillary Clinton did not create Birtherism, the birth certificate was released long before Trump arrived on the scene, Trump did not think the matter was closed even after President Obama authorized the release of the long-form birth certificate, and, perhaps most importantly, we have no reason to think that Trump “believes that President Obama was born in the United States.” Until those words come out of his mouth, there is no reason to think he has changed his mind.