Donald Trump positioning himself as the birther candidate

By Stephen C. Webster
Monday, March 28, 2011 12:29 EDT
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Billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump appears to have found his niche: birtherism.

And what is birtherism? It’s essentially a group of Republican conspiracy theoriests who believe President Obama wasn’t actually born in Hawaii and that his birth certificate was faked in order to make him eligible for the Presidency.

The key thrust of their argument is that the president’s “certificate of live birth,” issued by the state of Hawaii, is not his actual “birth certificate” because he wasn’t really born in Honolulu on August 4, 1961, and was therefore never eligible to be the president.

And now, it seems Donald Trump wants to lead them.

Appearing on Fox News Monday morning, the billionaire Republican (who’s admitted he’s “more of a Democrat”) claimed that the president has not provided his birth certificate. He even suggested that Obama has “spent millions” trying to avoid the question.

“I brought it up just routinely, and all of a sudden, a lot of facts are emerging and I’m starting to wonder myself whether he was born in this country,” he said.

However, Trump was pretty sparse with those “facts” throughout the interview, during which the anchors of “Fox and Friends” seemed content to let him discuss the fictional issue as if it were of genuine concern.

In one slip, Trump kept insisting that a “certificate of live birth” is some scantly detailed printout without a signature on it.

This is not true in several ways: not only is the “certificate of live birth” the actual document they claim they’re not getting, it also features a signature and a raised seal of authenticity. Even the state’s governor has gone to bat for the document.

What seems to have been lost in Trump’s rhetorical buildup this morning is that in 1962, Hawaii had several types of “birth certificates,” and “certificates of live birth” were actually the most detailed variety.

As the state explains on its Department of Human Homelands qualifications page (emphasis added):

Birth certificates (Certificates of Live Birth and Certifications of Live Birth) and Certificates of Hawaiian Birth are the primary documents used to determine native Hawaiian qualification.

“The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands accepts both Certificates of Live Birth (original birth certificate) and Certifications of Live Birth because they are official government records documenting an individual’s birth. The Certificate of Live Birth generally has more information which is useful for genealogical purposes as compared to the Certification of Live Birth which is a computer-generated printout that provides specific details of a person’s birth. Although original birth certificates (Certificates of Live Birth) are preferred for their greater detail, the State Department of Health (DOH) no longer issues Certificates of Live Birth. When a request is made for a copy of a birth certificate, the DOH issues a Certification of Live Birth.”

Although the billionaire bragged that he was one of the top students in his college class, he didn’t say whether they taught him how to use, as President George W. Bush once famously quipped, “the Google.”

This video is from Fox News, broadcast Monday, March 28, 2011.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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