A look at Trump’s ‘birther’ statements
"I have a birth certificate. People have birth certificates. He doesn't have a birth certificate. He may have one but there is something on that birth certificate — maybe religion, maybe it says he's a Muslim, I don't know. Maybe he doesn't want that. Or, he may not have one."
— Donald Trump, March 30, 2011
"I have people that have been studying it and they cannot believe what they're finding. He spent $2 million in legal fees trying on to get away from this issue, and if it weren't an issue, why wouldn't he just solve it? I wish he would because if he doesn't, it's one of the greatest scams in the history of politics and in the history, period. You are not allowed to be a president if you're not born in this country. Right now, I have real doubts."
— Trump, April 7, 2011
“Maybe I’m going to do the tax returns when Obama does his birth certificate. I may tie my tax returns. I’d love to give my tax returns. I may tie my tax returns into Obama’s birth certificate.”
— Trump, April 19, 2011
“I've been told very recently, Anderson, that the birth certificate is missing. I've been told that it's not there or it doesn't exist. And if that's the case, it's a big problem."
— Trump, April 25, 2011
“The word is, according to what I’ve read, that he was a terrible student when he went to Occidental. He then gets to Columbia; he then gets to Harvard. … How do you get into Harvard if you're not a good student? Now, maybe that’s right, or maybe it’s wrong. But I don’t know why he doesn’t release his records.”
— Trump, April 27, 2011, after Obama releases a more detailed version of his birth certificate, nearly three years after he first released his birth certificate.
The Fact Checker on Wednesday had a detailed, midday look at Donald Trump’s statements in New Hampshire. So this morning we simply present a list of his statements in the past month on the question of President Obama’s birth. In retrospect, much of this is simply wild speculation on Trump’s part, with almost no basis in fact.
Trump speculated that maybe Obama was hiding the fact that the birth certificate said he was Muslim, even though the so-called “long form” does not ask for religion. He claimed, without offering evidence, that he had hired investigators who “cannot believe what they’re finding.” To his credit, CNN’s Anderson Cooper confronted Trump with the fact that there was no sign of any Trump-sponsored investigation in Hawaii.
Trump, in response, said that he had just learned that “the birth certificate is missing.” This was two days before the White House released the version that Trump claimed was gone.
Trump also suggested he would release his tax returns if Obama released the long-form document. After Obama took that step Wednesday, Trump said he would do so “at the appropriate time” — meaning it might be a very long wait.
Trump immediately changed the subject, demanding to see Obama’s grades in college. For the record, Obama graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School and was president of the Harvard Law Review, so at least we know he hit his stride eventually.
Of course, we in the media have given Trump every platform he requested. When Obama referred to “sideshows and carnival barkers” Wednesday, perhaps he did not have in mind Trump, but rather the line often attributed to P.T. Barnum: “There's a sucker born every minute.”