Conspiracy theorist and millionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump will be regaled by Florida's Sarasota Republican Party as "Statesman of the Year," in an elaborate fundraiser dinner set to take place on the eve of the 2012 Republican National Convention (RNC) in Tampa.
Trump, who is not a statesman but has been raising funds for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), was selected by Florida Republicans because, as Sarasota GOP Chair Joe Gruters told Talking Points Memo, "He's a sage, skillful and respected leader" who's doing "all he can to take our country back."
The real estate mogul has for more than a year now been espousing conspiracy theories about President Barack Obama's birthplace, suggesting that the president may not be eligible to serve, despite all available evidence to the contrary. Trump even briefly flirted with joining the Republican candidate slate, based purely upon the strong response to his conspiracy mongering among conservatives.
And while that's been thoroughly debunked, Romney's aides have found their candidate getting more and more cozy with Trump, even as campaign surrogates condemn the media for reporting his bizarre views.
A New York Times/CBS News poll last year found that just shy of half of Republican voters believe that President Obama was not born in the U.S. President Obama released his long-form birth certificate (PDF) roughly a week after that poll was taken, confirming that the shorter certificate previously issued by the campaign was not a forgery. Trump's conspiracy mongering was then openly mocked by President Obama later that same week during the White House Correspondent's Dinner.
Tickets for the Sarasota GOP event range from $150 to $1,000, and more than 600 people are expected. Trump told NBC News through a spokesman that he's "honored" to receive the award.
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