Trump scored several own-goals last night, but this stood out to me among the rest.
Debate moderator Lester Holt asked Trump why it took him five years to acknowledge that President Obama was born in America and, rather than quickly respond and move on, Trump argued with Holt and then took credit for forcing the president to release his birth certificate.
HOLT: Mr. Trump, for five years, you perpetuated a false claim that the nation's first black president was not a natural-born citizen. You questioned his legitimacy. In the last couple of weeks, you acknowledged what most Americans have accepted for years: The president was born in the United States. Can you tell us what took you so long?
TRUMP: I'll tell you very -- well, just very simple to say. Sidney Blumenthal works for the campaign and close -- very close friend of Secretary Clinton. And her campaign manager, Patti Doyle, went to -- during the campaign, her campaign against President Obama, fought very hard. And you can go look it up, and you can check it out.
And if you look at CNN this past week, Patti Solis Doyle was on Wolf Blitzer saying that this happened. Blumenthal sent McClatchy, highly respected reporter at McClatchy, to Kenya to find out about it. They were pressing it very hard. She failed to get the birth certificate.
When I got involved, I didn't fail. I got him to give the birth certificate. So I'm satisfied with it. And I'll tell you why I'm satisfied with it.
HOLT: That was...
TRUMP: Because I want to get on to defeating ISIS, because I want to get on to creating jobs, because I want to get on to having a strong border, because I want to get on to things that are very important to me and that are very important to the country.
HOLT: I will let you respond. It's important. But I just want to get the answer here. The birth certificate was produced in 2011. You've continued to tell the story and question the president's legitimacy in 2012, '13, '14, '15... ...as recently as January. So the question is, what changed your mind?
TRUMP: Well, nobody was pressing it, nobody was caring much about it. I figured you'd ask the question tonight, of course. But nobody was caring much about it. But I was the one that got him to produce the birth certificate. And I think I did a good job.
Secretary Clinton also fought it. I mean, you know -- now, everybody in mainstream is going to say, oh, that's not true. Look, it's true. Sidney Blumenthal sent a reporter -- you just have to take a look at CNN, the last week, the interview with your former campaign manager. And she was involved. But just like she can't bring back jobs, she can't produce.
HOLT: I'm sorry. I'm just going to follow up -- and I will let you respond to that, because there's a lot there. But we're talking about racial healing in this segment. What do you say to Americans, people of color who...
TRUMP: Well, it was very -- I say nothing. I say nothing, because I was able to get him to produce it. He should have produced it a long time before. I say nothing.
But let me just tell you. When you talk about healing, I think that I've developed very, very good relationships over the last little while with the African-American community. I think you can see that.
And I feel that they really wanted me to come to that conclusion. And I think I did a great job and a great service not only for the country, but even for the president, in getting him to produce his birth certificate.
HOLT: Secretary Clinton?
CLINTON: Well, just listen to what you heard.
The audience at the debate was definitely listening. The crowd audibly laughed out loud after Clinton said that.
The idea that Trump did President Obama and the African Community a great favor by supposedly forcing the president to release the long-form version of his birth certificate is so grotesquely insane and racist I can only conclude that Trump actually believes that. A certain level of delusion is required to stand on that stage and claim in front of 100 million people that you did the world an enormous favor by perpetuating a racist conspiracy theory for five years. No well-adjusted person would do that.
This was not the first time Trump has referred to the president's birth certificate as if it were some kind of trophy. Trump also claimed credit for forcing the issue at the recent opening of his new hotel in Washington D.C.
Trump did not even attempt to explain why he continued to perpetuate birtherism for five years after the president released the long-form version of his birth certificate. Not that any explanation is needed. We know why.