Trump aide says release of unofficial birth certificate an 'oversight'
Trump released this document to the website Newsmax.com. It is a hospital birthing record, not a birth certificate.
March 29th, 2011
12:22 PM ET
4 years ago

Trump aide says release of unofficial birth certificate an 'oversight'

(CNN) - A top aide to Donald Trump is sharply refuting suggestions of hypocrisy in response to the media mogul's release of an unofficial document of his birth only hours after chastising President Obama for failing to produce his official birth certificate.

"I can assure you, Mr. Trump is a U.S. citizen," Trump aide and lawyer Michael Cohen told CNN. "He is only asking for the president to do what the president said he would do – release his birth certificate."

The improbable presidential candidate set off charges of hypocrisy Monday after he provided what he claimed was a copy of his birth certificate to the conservative website Newsmax.com. The release of the document came the same day he told Fox News he keeps his birth certificate "on my desk" and would gladly provide it.

"It took me one hour to get my birth certificate," Trump told Newsmax. "It's inconceivable that, after four years of questioning, the president still hasn't produced his birth certificate."

But, as reported by the website The Smoking Gun and confirmed by Cohen, the document Trump released is in fact not an official birth certificate – instead it is a hospital "birthing record," Cohen says. Hospitals generally provide such documents, signed by administrators, for families upon the birth of a child but they do not count as official birth certificate, which is released by state agencies.

Cohen said the release of the incorrect document was merely an "oversight" that he is sure it will be corrected.

"In order to rectify the oversight, I am sure he will either find his original birth certificate or order another one and release it," Cohen said.

He also applauded Trump for having the hospital's birthing record, a document he says is rare for people to hold on to.

"It's incredible he has that," Cohen said. "I know I don't have mine."

In 2008, the Obama campaign produced a certification of live birth that reports his birthplace as Honolulu, Hawaii – a document the Hawaii government says is official evidence of his birth in the state. Current Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie vowed to produce an original copy of Obama's birth certificate but abandoned those efforts earlier this year because it is against state law to release private documents, according to his spokeswoman.

In his interview with Fox, Trump said he thinks a certification of live birth fails to prove anything.

"They give you a certificate of live birth, which anybody can get. Just walk into the hospital and you get a certificate of live birth," he said. "It's not even signed by people."

Though unsigned, the certification of live birth carries an official state seal, something the document Trump released is lacking.

Among other evidence of Obama's citizenship is the fact the hospital where he was born took out ads in two Hawaiian newspapers in 1961 announcing the birth. But Trump isn't buying that either.

"That was placed in the paper days after he was born," he told Fox. "He could have come into the country and then did it for social reasons – for whatever reasons."

But despite Trump's recent statements, Cohen maintains the "Apprentice" host actually doesn't doubt Obama was born in the United States. Instead he is only providing a voice to the "thousands" of e-mails he has received on his website, shouldtrumprun.com.

A recent CNN Opinion Research poll shows most Americans think that Obama was indeed born in the United States. But there is a partisan divide on the issue.

The survey indicates that 72 percent think the president was definitely or probably born in the U.S., with one out of four saying that he was definitely or probably born outside the country.

Full results (pdf)

Breaking down the numbers further, 46 percent say Obama was definitely born in the U.S., 26 percent say he was probably born in the country, with 15 percent saying he was probably born outside the U.S. and one in ten saying the president was definitely born outside the country.

The figures are little changed from last summer, when CNN last polled on the issue, but a partisan divide remains.

"A bare majority of Republicans, 52 percent, believe that President Obama was born in the U.S., with 43 percent saying that he was born elsewhere," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "By contrast, 11 percent of Democrats and 23 percent of independents say Obama was not born in the U.S."

Earlier this month the Supreme Court again rejected an appeal from a "birther" proponent questioning the citizenship of the president. At least 10 states have introduced bills requiring presidential candidates to provide proof they are natural-born citizens.

At a Democratic party event in Boston earlier this week, the president joked about the controversy, saying "I was born in Hawaii, what can I say? I mean, I just… I can't change those facts."

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey was conducted March 18-20, with 1,012 people questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

– CNN's Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report


Filed under: 2012 • Donald Trump • President Obama
soundoff (170 Responses)
  1. Michael

    He is not presidential material. Anyone who would contribute to his campaign would be throwing away their money. They should donate to organizations that help people who need it, not some egotist seeking more adulation.

    March 29, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  2. Joe

    I can't believe it. Trump is even more of a total idiot than I ever thought.

    March 29, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  3. Livin' the good life

    Marilyn Monroe...JFK...Man did not land on the moon...Etc...No matter what Obama does [or does not do] the critics will still be shouting hate, causing devisiveness, lying, cheating, stealing etc...They want only one way and think theirs is it. No open minds there. Once someone puts out something [anything] and it is not true or mislabeled, the bell cannot be unrung. They only need to get things to stick in the ignorant peoples mind to get the vote.

    March 29, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  4. HC21

    He should do nothing else for the entire time he is in office except to answer each individual request to see his birth certificate with an in person visit to the residence of each requester to personally show them the documentation. That is the only way this will go away. LOL. Sorry, trying to think like "one of them" for a second.

    March 29, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  5. Voice of Reason

    What is he hiding?? If Trump would just release his ORIGINAL BIRTH CEDRTIFICATE, then all this would go away... I mean, why would he want to hide anything? Why would he go through all this trouble and spend all that money if he wasnt hiding someing? I personally think he was born here in America (not on Pluto like some people claim), but then why doesnt he just show his REAL birth certificate???!

    Does it sound stupid enough for you yet?

    March 29, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  6. funkymonkey

    Perhaps "thousands" of people should email trump telling him to go jump off the Brooklyn Bridge.

    March 29, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  7. Michael

    So Cohen doesn't have his birth certificate? I'm 61 and I have mine. How does Trump know he's an American citizen? Prove it Cohen!!

    March 29, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  8. edog

    Trump is an idiot!! Is this an example of how he would run the country? Walk around telling countries that he is proud of scamming dictators, speak and act before thinking. You would think the way Trump is talking about official birth certificates, he would know the one he posted was not an official birth certificate!!! IDIOT!

    March 29, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  9. needNewGov

    Our middle class is floundering. Our government is so disfunctional that they wouldn't be able to agree on the color of toilet paper. AND these candidates are still carrying on about that stupid birth certificate. My God, how about coming up with ideas on how to make things better and stop this idiocy.

    March 29, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  10. Robert

    Mr. Trump has lost all credibility as a presidential candidate by this birth certificate nonsense. If he has something important to say on policy, let's hear it. If he wants to pander to the non-thinking, us vs. them crowd, stay on fake reality TV.

    March 29, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  11. ThinkAgain

    In the state where I live and my three children were born, the state issues at no charge a "Certificate of Live Birth" at the hospital where the child is born. If you want an "Heirloom" birth certificate (description: "Presentation style calligraphy certificate suitable for framing."), you have to request one from the Vital Records department and the cost is $45.

    Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site (on the page, "Where to Write for Vital Records"), Hawaii only offers a copy of a birth certificate for $10 (no heirloom style available).

    In other words, all that's available is the Certificate of Live Birth.

    Trump and all his wacko birther buddies need to get a life!

    March 29, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  12. Stacey

    "I can assure you, Mr. Trump is a U.S. citizen," Trump aide and lawyer Michael Cohen told CNN.

    Really? Well I want more proof. The birth certificate Trump released isn't enough! I'm not convinced Trump is a U.S. citizen no matter what birth certificate he shows me! Boy I sure do I sound stupid, frightened and ignorant!

    March 29, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  13. ihtpfaeoh

    From what I see in Trump's "certificate of birth", he was apparently born in Jamaica! ha ha!

    March 29, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  14. Vlad Pistoff

    Trump's "birth certificate" looks as funny as his hair-do. That document is NOT a legitimate birth certificate. What foreign country was Trump actually born in?

    March 29, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  15. ChuckB

    Donald, produce the real official document! You must have it. What you posted is less official than Obama's certificate of live birth.

    March 29, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  16. Dustybear

    All this could go away if only Obama shows his birth certificate. He is in a public office and claims to be transparent yet all his historical records are sealed. Makes you go hmmmm. It's not being racists, it's just being curious on why all the secrets.

    March 29, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  17. Voice of Reason

    THAT'S IT! I am – as of now – an official Trump 'brither'. No amount of evidence will EVER convince me that he is an AMerican citizen! He was born in Timbuktu! All those people who say otherwise are getting $$ paid off $$ to help perpetuate the conspiracy. The so-called 'certificate' he posted is obviously a fake. And why wont he post his grades from Kindergarden? Or his Junior High School locker combination? Or his shoe size? WHAT IS HE TRYING TO HIDE???

    March 29, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  18. ag

    "He also applauded Trump for having the hospital's birthing record, a document he says is rare for people to hold on to."

    What is he applauding Trump for? How about giving some kudos for his parents instead? I'm pretty sure DT himself didn't pick up a copy of this document on his way out of the hospital.

    March 29, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  19. Truth Teller

    Trump really blew this one.

    March 29, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  20. Amunaka

    Amazing ...a grown man still playing show me yours I'll show you mine ...and this guy is thinking of running for president ...this country is in dire straights .....

    March 29, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  21. Qwerty

    "But despite Trump's recent statements, Cohen maintains the "Apprentice" host actually doesn't doubt Obama was born in the United States. Instead he is only providing a voice to the "thousands" of e-mails he has received on his website, shouldtrumprun.com."

    That is just lovely... what the US needs right now is a president that throws common sense and their own opinions out in the trash in order to pander to the ravings of a fringe minority.

    March 29, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  22. GrogInOhio

    "I can assure you, Mr. Trump is a U.S. citizen," Trump aide and lawyer Michael Cohen told CNN.

    I'd like some assurance that Donald Trump is an earthling. Aside from his otherworldly loonyness, that thing on his head may be hiding antennae.

    March 29, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  23. mj

    Regardless what party you are in, why can President Obama just show the certificate and shut everybody up? He is not the average joe, he is the president and he needs to be born in US to qualified for the highest office in the country..I felt the same way with John McCain, is the constitution!!!

    March 29, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  24. OneMoreTime

    Trump "....doesn't doubt Obama was born in the United States...."? Unofficial birthing certificate and "oversight"?
    Welcome to the "Twilight Zone".

    March 29, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  25. GL

    If the President was not black, this would be an non issue. These people are racist driven and nothing else.

    March 29, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
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