Of all the nutty rumors, baseless conspiracy theories and sheer disinformation that we’ve dealt with at FactCheck.org during campaign 2008, perhaps the goofiest is the claim that Barack Obama is not a “natural-born citizen” and therefore not eligible to be president under the constitution. FactCheck.org, Nov. 1, 2008
Asserting that Trump would have to be fired for incompetence, they point to the genesis of Trump’s revival of the already thoroughly debunked birtherism myth:
Trump made several incorrect statements of fact in an April 7 appearance on NBC’s “Today Show,” and later in a call-in to MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” In each instance he echoed claims that are often repeated by those who wish to believe Obama is not a natural-born American citizen and thus not qualified under the Constitution to be president.
In fact, proof that Barack Obama was born in the United States was provided by Obama campaign in 2008, not that you’d know it from continuing Republican propaganda. The conservative National Review agreed wrote in 2009 that “a few misguided souls among the Right” believed “foolishness” that Trump is spewing. The assessment of their editorial staff was that “Like Bruce Springsteen, he [Obama] has a lot of bad political ideas; but he was born in the U.S.A.”
You may remember how back in 2006 Donald Trump reacted badly to somebody allegedly saying something untrue about himself. He says he is a billionaire. This is part of his image, after all. So when an author claimed Trump was worth as little as $150 million, he sued. The case was dismissed in 2009. His reaction seems more than a little hypocritical in light of Trump’s current claims about President Obama. Apparently saying he is worth $150 million instead of $1 billion is defamation but accusing a sitting president of being born in a foreign country is not. The Donald is a law unto himself. He’s rich after all. Just ask him. Just make sure you get the number right.
FactCheck.org goes on to make the following points about the birtherism Trump has painfully – and belatedly – embraced:
- He claims the president’s grandmother says Obama was born in Kenya. In fact, the recording to which he refers shows Sarah Obama repeatedly saying through a translator: “He was born in America.”
- He claims that no hospital in Hawaii has a record of Obama’s birth. Hospital records are confidential under federal law, but Honolulu’s Kapi’olani Medical Center has published a letter from Obama calling it “the place of my birth,” thus publicly confirming it as his birthplace.
- He insists that the official “Certification of Live Birth” that Obama produced in 2008 is “not a birth certificate.” That’s wrong. The U.S. Department of State uses “birth certificate” as a generic term to include the official Hawaii document, which satisfies legal requirements for proving citizenship and obtaining a passport.
- He claims that there’s no signature or certification number on the document released by Obama. Wrong again. Photos of the document, which we posted in 2008, clearly show those details.
- He says newspaper announcements of Obama’s birth that appeared in Hawaii newspapers in 1961 “probably” were placed there fraudulently by his now-deceased American grandparents. Actually, a state health department official and a former managing editor of one of the newspapers said the information came straight from the state health department.
- He claims “nobody knew” Obama when he was growing up and “nobody ever comes forward” who knew him as a child. “If I ever decide to run, you may go back and interview people from my kindergarten,” Trump said. Well, two retired kindergarten teachers in a 2009 news story fondly recall teaching a young Barack Obama.
The organization concludes that “We’ve seen no evidence that would change our conclusion in the nearly two and a half years since then.”
Donald Trump seems to have decided late in the game that he is the great white hope, the savior of American conservatism. He has fallen in love with “the Donald” but he has become trapped within his own cult of personality. In trying to endear himself to the lunatic fringe that currently runs the Republican party, he has tried to embrace this already debunked and ridiculous point of view, a sort of cult-like focus on the place of Obama’s birth.
But as Barack Obama said, and as historical records demonstrate, our President was born in the United States, and as a corollary that Donald Trump for poor judgment and lack of basic reasoning ability is unfit to be President of the United States. If he’s too lazy or too important to read himself, I’m sure he can afford to pay somebody to do it for him. That he failed, like John McCain, to do his due diligence, says all we need to know about this latest Republican pretender.
As President Obama said last night, birthers are the Republican’s problem and that brings to mind this question: Is there even one Republican candidate who should not be wearing a tinfoil hat?