by Frederick Cosby, Special to BlackAmericaWeb.com
Seems that Donald Trump – the New York billionaire/reality TV game show host/potential Republican presidential candidate/general publicity hound – has joined a conspiratorial choir of others who question whether President Barack Obama is a United States citizen.
“Everybody that even gives a hint of being a birther…even a little bit of a hint, like gee, you know, maybe, just maybe this much of a chance, they label them as an idiot,” Trump said in the recent issue of New York magazine. “Let me tell you I’m a really smart guy.”
Trump explained to the magazine that Obama seems like an international man of mystery to him. “He grew up and nobody knew him. You know?” Trump said. “When you interview people, if ever I got the nomination, if I ever decide to run, you may go back and interview people from my kindergarten. They’ll remember me.”
With Obama, “Nobody ever comes forward,” Trump said. “Nobody knows who he is until later in life,” Trump continued. “It’s very strange. The whole thing is very strange.”
Trump pushed the birther button even harder in February when he spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, much to the delight of the conservative, mostly Republican crowd.
“Our current president came out of nowhere,” Trump told an audience that was shopping for a GOP presidential candidate to support. “In fact, I’ll go a step further: the people that went to school with him, they never saw him, they don’t know who he is. Crazy.”
Obama was born in Honolulu on Aug. 4, 1961. The tropical island switched from U.S. territory to the 50th U.S. state in August 1959, nearly two years before Obama was born. His birth certificate has been verified by government officials in Hawaii, and there were notices of Obama’s birth in Honolulu’s two newspapers in 1961.
For a guy who built a television show around his ability to interview job applicants, Trump seems he either didn’t do his homework and read the 2008 presidential campaign profiles about Obama’s upbringing. And he apparently hasn’t looked at some of the stories written since.
Trump probably missed the July 10, 2010 Washington Post article about Dan Hale, a high school boys basketball coach in Northern Virginia, who was the starting center on the Punahou school basketball team. In the story, Hale fondly recalled the backup forward on the team – a tall, skinny kid with a good mid-range jumper named Barry Obama.
The high school coach and the president have kept in touch via e-mail of a mutual friend, since Hale moved to the Washington area, The Post article stated.
Hale didn’t just know Obama on the basketball court. The article stated that Obama hung out at Hale’s house playing Nerf basketball and the two friends “would pile into a teammate’s van and cruise the island listening to Earth, Wind & Fire eight-tracks.”
Trump isn’t the only potential Republican presidential candidate who’s not letting the truth get in the way of a good conspiracy theory.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said in a radio interview earlier this month that Obama grew up in Africa. “What I know is troubling enough,” Huckabee said. “And one thing that I do know is his having grown up in Kenya, his view of the Brits, for example, is very different than the average American.”
Huckabee later clarified his remarks on his website: “I was asked about President Obama’s birth certificate.
In my answer, I simply misspoke when I alluded to President Obama growing up in Kenya, and I meant to say Indonesia.”
All this birther talk drives establishment Republicans like former George W. Bush advisor Karl Rove and former Secretary of State Colin Powell crazy.
They fear it damages the GOP brand with moderate and independent voters heading into the 2012 presidential elections.
But its music to the ears of tea party supporters, many of whom believe Obama wasn’t born here and therefore isn’t qualified to be president. Trump’s comments and Huckabee’s misspeak came coincidentally after a survey released last month by the Democrat-leaning Public Policy Polling found that 51 percent of GOP voters don’t think Obama was born in the United States.
“Donald Trump has joined a lot of really sane Americans. He, like us, does not believe Barack Obama,” Judson Phillips, founder of Tea Party Nation, wrote on the group’s blog. “The fact that Trump will deal with that issue and deal with it head on raises his stock as a possible presidential candidate in a lot of people’s eyes.”
“The great thing about what Donald did is he said it and he did not flinch when he said it,” Phillips added. “A lot of the alleged conservative leaders have run like cockroaches when the lights are turned on from the eligibility issue.”
Trump’s birther comments weren’t the only brash political statements he made. At the CPAC conference, he blasted Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), a failed 2008 GOP presidential candidate, but a libertarian favorite, who might run again in 2012.
“By the way, Ron Paul cannot get elected, I’m sorry to tell you,” Trump predicted. “I like Ron Paul, I think he’s a good guy, but honestly he just has zero chance of getting elected.”
Days after Trump’s bold forecast Paul won CPAC’s presidential straw poll for the second straight year with 30 percent of the vote. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney finished second with 23 percent. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour came in last at one percent. Trump, who decided to attend the conference at the last minute, failed to register a single percentage point.