Real estate mogul and reality TV personality Donald Trump on Friday sought to paint himself as a Washington outsider ready for the national stage.
But in a question-and-answer session with Fox News host Sean Hannity following his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, he fell back to a familiar pattern: questioning whether President Obama was born in the United States:
"Hey look, [the president] wrote a book when he was a young man and it said ‘born in Kenya,’ blah blah blah. I don’t know where he was born. I would like to see his college records, I think that’s important.
As far as the birth certificate, Hillary Clinton wanted his birth certificate. Hillary is a birther. She wanted it but she wasn’t able to get it. John McCain fought really hard and really viciously to get his birth certificate. John McCain failed. Couldn’t get it. Trump comes along – and I’m not a sitting senator, I’m not a sitting anything else, I’m a good businessman – but Trump comes along and I said, ‘Birth certificate.’ He gave a birth certificate.
Whether or not that was a real certificate, because a lot of people question it, I certainly question it—but Hillary Clinton wanted it, McCain wanted it, and I wanted it. He didn’t do it for them, he did it for me. So in one sense I’m proud of it. Now all we have to do is find out whether or not it’s real.”
Trump has signaled in recent days that he is seriously considering a bid for the White House in 2016. During an interview Wednesday with The Post's Robert Costa, Trump said he is "'more serious' than ever” and is beginning to build a political campaign staff.
"Washington is totally broken and it's not going to get fixed unless we put the right person in that top position. It's just not going to happen," he told the crowd of conservative activists Friday. "I'm not a politician, thank goodness. Politicians are all talk, no action. I’ve dealt with them all my life."
While Trump has developed a formidable brand centered on his standing as a business mogul, he has struggled in the past to be taken seriously as a potentially political candidate. That is at least in part because of his frequent – and sometimes off-color – feuds with prominent political leaders and celebrities alike.
But his past remarks about the president's citizenship have made other conservatives deeply uneasy with his candidacy.
During his speech Friday, Trump went through a litany of topics, including his opposition to Common Core education standards, his support for tougher position against Iran, and infrastructure development.
The business mogul was most aggressive in his criticism of administration's management of the fight against the Islamic State, saying the president “doesn’t know what he’s doing.”
"On ISIS, nobody, if I decide to run and win, nobody would be tougher than Donald Trump. I would hit them so hard and so fast that they wouldn't know what happened. I would find a general. Remember the old days of…these great generals?" he said. "General [Douglas] MacArthur is spinning in his grave when he sees what we did. So you gotta them hard, gotta hit them firm."