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. Thanh

    If he really was not a US Citizen, Hillary Clinton would have figured it out. I can guarantee it. I really wonder if all these birthers know anything about the process to become a nominee. There is such a thing called vetting.

    March 29, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  2. TM

    Obama HAS shown his official birth certificate. The document that the "birthers" are calling for is nothing but a red herring, as it has NO legal weight. The document that Obama has provided IS sufficient to prove his citizenship. End. Of. Story.

    March 29, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  3. drp

    President Obama has already released his certified birth certificate. The people insisting that President Obama was not born in the US contrary to documents supporting his birth in the US remind me people who are pig-headed as they say. It is entirely beyond me why these folks persist.

    March 29, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  4. Mike

    It seems to me we should accept the Donald's certificate as factual evidence as to where he was born – after all, it says at the top "The Jamaica Hospital." That has to be on the island of Jamaica doesn't it? If it was in New York wouldn't it say "The Jamaica New York Hospital"? Seems logical to me. So, going over this again, Donald Trump was born in Jamaica of a Scottish mother and an allegedly American father. So, don't we now need to see his father's birth certificate. . . .oh, there was an announcement in Newsday, the Long Island newspaper? Well, maybe the Trumps flew in from Jamaica and inserted the ad for social or whatever reasons. . . .

    March 29, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  5. airbornevet

    And that guy is smart enough to create a huge business empire??? I mean he just borrowed a couple billion from his dad to start it, and if he was able to become so successful with so little he must be brilliant and he must have a point about this “birther” issue. Thank god, finally a “birther” we can take seriously.

    March 29, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  6. Brandon V. in DFW

    So its easier to believe that an 18 year old pregnant woman without a passport flew to Kenya gave birth then flew back, still without a passport for her or her baby and made it into the country than it is to believe that he was born in Hawaii. Seriously, seriously.

    March 29, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  7. Jennifer

    The original/certified copy of a birth certificate on file with the state is not always entirely accurate, as we would like to believe. For example, the father listed on my "official" birth certificate is actually the man who raised and adopted me, not my biological father which leads me to believe that official records can be doctored to fit with other legal actions that have been taken.

    March 29, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  8. geecee

    When will this nonsense stop? How could Obama's mother possibly guess that her son would some day run for President of the United States so she had better make sure that some documentation was found showing he was born in Hawaii back in 1961. She was all of 18 years old, married to a black man from Kenya. How could she possibly think her newborn son would ever be running for President? Yet, she attempts to "fraudulently" get a birth certificate (Certificate of Live Birth) from a hospital in Hawaii, and her son's birth announcement appears in two Hawaii newspapers? How could this "fraud"have possibly been perpetrated? A vast conspiracy? Did people get paid money to commit this "fraud"? Obama is NOT spending millions of dollars to try to hide anything – his birth record or his college transcripts. What other President ever had to release this information? Why should He?? Where do people come up with this crap? Oh, let me guess – couldn't be Fox News, could it? Obama went to Columbia as an undergraduate and he graduated Harvard Law School. He was editor of the Law Review. He graduates Magna Cum Laude from Harvard Law. If any of this is not true, why have these fine institutions not come forward and told the country it isn't true? Probably, because it IS true. What are you conspiracy theorists looking for? Put on your tinfoil hats and go search for some UFO's you nutjobs!!

    March 29, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  9. Jim

    You do not get vetted by the FBI and Secret Service to be President without the proper proof of being born in The US. Time for Trump and the other goat-cheese for brains birthers to come up with something new, because this is old.

    March 29, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  10. SF

    to MJ...it's people like u and trump who can't get it through their thick skulls that Obama has ALREADY PROVEN he's a citizen...the certificate of birth has BEEN SHOWN OVER AND OVER AGAIN! you people are delusional!

    March 29, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  11. JD

    Why did no one care that John McCain was born in Panama?

    March 29, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  12. Olita

    I wonder if we'd be having this discussion if McCain (born in the Panama Canal Zone) had won the election.....

    March 29, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  13. kelsey's grammar

    some people have nothing but cracked pots for brains. Donald, are you a Repub today or did you go back to being a Dem? Whatever party is in office, you register as the opposite.

    I will type slowly so certain people will get it. President Obama was born in HI, a US state. He is a US citizen. He has been travelling internationally, with a passport, since he was a child. His place of birth has long been known. He can only show you what the state of HI issues as his BC. There is no other magical document.

    March 29, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  14. MEA

    Eric

    Trump's lawyer said this, ""It's incredible he has that [birth certificate]," Cohen said. "I know I don't have mine."

    Wait a minute. Trumps LAYWER doesn't have his birth certificate, and he's representing Trump, who's attacking the President for not having his official certificate? Brilliant. Hypocritical. Brilliant.

    So Eric, If you read the article again, the lawyer is just stating that he doen't have the "hospital's birthing record".

    March 29, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  15. Voice of Reason

    According to the Loony Right, we should develop some sort of DNA test to see who is really a US citizen. I'm OK with that – if we also have an IQ test to accompany it. I wonder how many recent Fox News commentators would be disqualified from their recently-announced presidential runs for failing that one?

    March 29, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  16. Angelique

    I am SO glad Mr. Trump went down this route. I'm sure MOST people don't have the "long form" version of their original. I think EVERY single birther who opens their idiot mouths should be asked to show up with their ORIGINAL birth certificate. NO other questions, nothing. "Do you have your original birth certificate?" repeated to them over and over again until they get the message.

    March 29, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  17. cf

    Without an official, original birth certificate, good luck getting on the ballot in Arizona, Mr Trump... or does that rule only apply to Democrats?
    Idiots.

    March 29, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  18. Marc W. McCord

    Okay, for all of you who are factually challenged, there is no such provision in law or the Constitution that a person running for President of the United States be born in America. There IS a provision that the person must be a native US citizen. Obama's mother was a US citizen, so that makes Obama a US citizen regardless of where he was born.

    And, for the record, John McCain was also NOT born in the United States, but I will bet that none of you tried to discredit his credentials as a candidate for POTUS when he was running based upon that fact.

    You people need to grow up, get some REAL education and try understanding the law before you make false claims like the ones being made about Obama not being an American citizen by birth. But, I digress. It is unlikely that anybody making those false claims has the brain power to actually comprehend facts, which is why they become Tea Partiers.

    March 29, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  19. AppleBaby

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

    Dummy, that's not the issue here. The issue is whether he was born on American soil. Trumpy boy is having a hard time tsk tsk tsk, I don't know....I don't buy his story...

    March 29, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  20. JD

    I don't see how you can really disagree with Trump.... Obama – just release the real deal and rub in everyone's face.... It is odd that no one can seem to produce Obama's actual birth certificate.

    March 29, 2011 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  21. cf

    President Obama HAS SHOWN his birth certificate numerous times! It is even on his website for anyone to go see!
    Those of you who keep saying "why doesn't he just show it and end this?" need to TURN OFF the Fox "News" and Rush Limbaugh (where they only show or say what they WANT you to know) and learn some FACTS.

    March 29, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  22. Plain Truth

    This whole birth certificate fixation tell me three main things:

    1) There are still a whole lot of deeply racists people in America.

    2) They really don't have anything else to complain about the President.

    3) Any candidate backing them or giving credence to any of their stupidity etc is not fit to be a president. That job demand so much reasoning skills that if you can't figure out that this is a dead issue, how the heck will you be able to handle the complex issues you will face as the leader of the free world?

    March 29, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  23. RgTx

    I don't believe this Donald. I think the BC you have produced is a complete fake.

    Also I want proof, real solid proof if anyone remembers you as a child. (and trust me, if you do produce any one, I will promptly not believe them).

    I also find it hard to believe that complete morons can actually become wealthy. How is that logistically & intellectually possible?

    March 29, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  24. Publius13

    Trump WILL NOT be able to produce his original birth certificate. Trump's ORIGINAL birth certificate is the property of the State of New York and will not be released by the state. Which is the same problem President Obama faces. His ORIGINAL birth certificate is the property of the State of Hawai'i. In point of law everyone's ORIGINAL birth certificate is the property of the state or commonwealth in which they were born. The state or commonwealth will release a certified copy of the original, but not the original. The same is true of college and university records. The reasons should be obvious to anyone who thinks about it. Do you want your ORIGINAL birth certificate eaten by your dog?

    March 29, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  25. DoTheRightThing

    Wow, after reading some of these posts,,, just shows me how shallow minded / brained washed people we have in this country. I bet most of you believe everything you see on TV, come on it's all part of the game - The real game of "LIFE" played by our president, CNN, and congress. Obama clearly claimed citizenship to Kenya when he was in college - for scholarship, etc opportunity. So, he is either lying about his citizenship and should not legally be our president or he lied to get college loans, grants, scholarships. Either way it should upset all of us how Obama is playing us for fools.... Wake up shallow minded people and start controlling your own life .... we need to start our revolution and take control of our country before its destroyed completely for sake of others...

    March 29, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
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