Obama, a native of Hawaii, released a shorter birth certification document during the 2008 campaign. But until now he refused to publicly display the longer document, saying he did not want to spend time on or lend legitimacy to critics who questioned his citizenship.
Trump, a billionaire real estate tycoon known around the world for his wealth and reality shows, suggested that there is still a need to verify the document
“I’d want to look at it, but I hope it’s true, so that we can get on to much more important matters, so the press can stop asking me questions. He should have done it a long time ago,” Trump said. “It is rather amazing that all of a sudden it materializes. ... But I hope it’s the right deal. We have to look at it.”
Trump had told several news outlets that he had investigators on the ground in Hawaii looking into the president’s background. He repeatedly embraced the conspiracy theory that the president had been born on foreign soil.
But even as he suggested that one controversy might be put to rest, Trump raised new questions Wednesday about Obama’s background.
“The word is, according to what I’ve read, is that he was a terrible student when he went Occidental. He then gets to Columbia. He then gets to Harvard,” Trump said. “I heard at Columbia he wasn’t a very good student. He then gets to Harvard. How do you get into Harvard if you’re not a good student?”
Obama, a former constitutional law professor and the first black president of the Harvard Law Review, is widely recognized as an intellectual heavyweight.
Over the past several weeks, Trump’s claims about the president’s birth dominated coverage of the GOP presidential race, even as many party leaders, like Karl Rove and Michele Bachmann, sought to put the conversation to rest. Polls showed that the controversy had gained some traction, especially among Republicans.
Trump — who arrived in Portsmouth aboard a black helicopter with red trim and his name emblazoned on the tail — spent the day in New Hampshire meeting with Republican party leaders and employees at a plant. He was also scheduled to travel to a lobster house.
He said that he plans to delay any decision about his future plans until the end of his reality television show “Celebrity Apprentice.” But he told the crowd of reporters who met him that the announcement would come before June.
“It’s very cool being a television star,” Trump said, as a black stretch limousine pulled up to whisk him off to his first stop.
Other presumed GOP 2012 candidates also have been making the rounds here in recent weeks, but none have generated the kind of interest that Trump has. Tickets to a May 11 event where Trump will meet with New Hampshire business leaders sold out quickly — 500 tickets in five hours.