If Donald Trump worked for us, we’d have to say: "Donald, you’re fired — for incompetence." The successful developer and TV celebrity says he’d make a good president, and maybe he would — we take no stand either way about that. But when it comes to getting facts straight, he fouls up again and again on the basics of President Barack Obama’s birth. As a rookie reporter, he just wouldn’t make it.
- He claims the president’s grandmother says Obama was born in Kenya. In fact, the recording to which he refers shows Sarah Obama repeatedly saying through a translator: "He was born in America."
- He claims that no hospital in Hawaii has a record of Obama’s birth. Hospital records are confidential under federal law, but Honolulu’s Kapi’olani Medical Center has published a letter from Obama calling it "the place of my birth," thus publicly confirming it as his birthplace.
- He insists that the official "Certification of Live Birth" that Obama produced in 2008 is "not a birth certificate." That’s wrong. The U.S. Department of State uses "birth certificate" as a generic term to include the official Hawaii document, which satisfies legal requirements for proving citizenship and obtaining a passport.
- He claims that there’s no signature or certification number on the document released by Obama. Wrong again. Photos of the document, which we posted in 2008, clearly show those details.
- He says newspaper announcements of Obama’s birth that appeared in Hawaii newspapers in 1961 "probably" were placed there fraudulently by his now-deceased American grandparents. Actually, a state health department official and a former managing editor of one of the newspapers said the information came straight from the state health department.
- He claims "nobody knew" Obama when he was growing up and "nobody ever comes forward" who knew him as a child. "If I ever decide to run, you may go back and interview people from my kindergarten," Trump said. Well, two retired kindergarten teachers in a 2009 news story fondly recall teaching a young Barack Obama.
The evidence that Obama was born in the U.S.A. is so overwhelming that we haven’t had much to say lately about the sort of bogus claims that Trump repeats. Hawaii’s top official in charge of vital records stated long ago, for example, that the confidential records underlying Obama’s official birth certificate show that he was born in Hawaii and is "a natural born American citizen."
But when a leading prospect for the Republican presidential nomination embraces and repeats these spurious claims and groundless conspiracy theories on national television, we are forced to wade into this swamp once again. For details of where Trump goes wrong, and full documentation of the facts, please read on to our Analysis section.
Trump made several incorrect statements of fact in an April 7 appearance on NBC’s "Today Show," and later in a call-in to MSNBC’s "Morning Joe." In each instance he echoed claims that are often repeated by those who wish to believe Obama is not a natural-born American citizen and thus not qualified under the Constitution to be president.
The proof of Obama’s citizenship has long been apparent to us and, we think, to any reasonable person with a mind open to evidence, regardless of his or her party. The conservative National Review agreed as long ago as July 2009, when it wrote that "a few misguided souls among the Right" had bought into the sort of "foolishness" that Trump now embraces. "Like Bruce Springsteen, he [Obama] has a lot of bad political ideas; but he was born in the U.S.A.," the Review’s editors said.
The proof is not just the official birth certificate issued by the state of Hawaii, and made public by the Obama campaign in 2008. As we wrote when we published detailed photographs of that document in our "Born in the U.S.A." article, that document constitutes legal proof of citizenship sufficient to meet all U.S. Department of State requirements for issuance of a passport...................