Trump digs at Obama’s birthplace, suggests Iran war ‘good politics’ for incumbent
June 2nd, 2012
04:07 PM ET
11 years ago

Trump digs at Obama’s birthplace, suggests Iran war ‘good politics’ for incumbent

(CNN) - Some at the North Carolina state Republican convention may have chosen chicken or fish. But Donald Trump served up all red meat in his keynote dinner address Friday evening.

Trump, a high-profile supporter Mitt Romney, transitioned from effusive praise of the party’s presidential candidate to questions about President Barack Obama's birthplace and an oblique suggestion that waging war with Iran may be "good politics" for someone seeking reelection.

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"There's one line called 'place of birth,'" Trump said, speaking of Obama's college records. "I'd like to see what he said. It would be very interesting. I don't care what his marks were. I don't care if he had good marks, I'd just like to see 'place of birth.'"

"Perhaps it's going to say Hawaii," the real estate magnate and reality TV celebrity continued. "Perhaps it's going to say Kenya."

After reading from a 1990s pamphlet promoting one of Obama's books that described him as "born in Kenya" - a mistake for which the publisher recently apologized - Trump accused "the press" of protecting Obama by failing to deem credible his view.

The White House released Obama's long-form birth certificate in 2011, showing he was born in a Hawaii hospital on August 4, 1961. Only "natural born" citizens of the United States are eligible to be president.

Shortly after that announcement, Trump - who’d said he was commissioning an investigation into Obama's birthplace - declared that he would not run for president.

Yet he’s kept the controversy alive, as he did again Friday - even as he insisted, “I don’t really like talking about the place of birth.

"I'm not a believer, so we'll see what happens," Trump said.

Trump, whose real estate holdings include a golf course in Charlotte, spared few in his remarks. He was critical of diplomats, said he has no respect for most political pundits and accused reporters - save a few - of being generally "dishonest."

He addressed employment statistics released earlier that day, which showed businesses nationwide adding only 69,000 jobs and the unemployment rate raising up from 8.1% to 8.2%

"All of this is bad news, and frankly you could say good news for the Republicans in terms of an election. But I don't care, we love the country first, so it's bad news as far as I'm concerned," he said.

He said that war with Iran over their nuclear program "may be good politics" - seemingly implicating Obama, though he did not name him.

Trump floated a scenario "like somebody wanting to get elected, and the only way he's going to do that is to start a war with Iran."

The president has said he will keep all options on the table, clarifying in March that his pledge to “always have Israel’s back” is “not a military doctrine that we were laying out for any particular military action.”

Given Israel’s geographic proximity to Iran and animosities between the two nations, it is seen as especially at risk were Iran to develop nuclear weaponry.

Obama said at a summit of world leaders in April that this spring’s talks with Iran were no rote exercise, but were aimed at solving the standoff peacefully.

“I’ve been very clear to Iran and to our negotiating partners that we're not going to have these talks just drag out in a stalling process," he said.

Along with the criticism of others, Trump praised Romney for having "a lot of heart" and for his record as a businessman.

Reflecting on his own presidential bid last spring and his tendency to voice his opinions, Trump seemed to revel Friday in being outspoken politically whatever its potential impact on his popularity or his starring role on NBC’s “The Apprentice.”

"I'm sure I'll get in trouble for some of the things I said, but I don't care," he said.

This speech was not one he could have given as a presidential candidate, he suggested.

"The nice part about not being a politician, is I can say what I want. And if people like it that's fine, if they don't like it, that's OK, too," the tycoon said.

Also see:

Obama campaign launches assault on Romney's Massachusetts record

Obama campaign releases third set of Spanish ads

Gonzales says Romney must make personal connection to Hispanics

Wisconsin guv up in third straight poll

Filed under: Donald Trump • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (136 Responses)
  1. MrRickinNH

    The very thought of war... where people get killed and families destroyed... being good for politics is disgusting and reminiscent of previous lessons. Trump is an example of a spineless human being with a worm tongue whose only weapons are his mouth and his money!

    June 3, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  2. RS, CA

    I would not be one bit surprised if Obama starts serious altercations (even if not outright war) with Iran. Be prepared, folks - and then finally judge him for the evil charlatan he is.

    June 3, 2012 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  3. Martin Walters Seattle

    George Bush claimed he too was going to be the “ CEO in Chief “ just as Mitt Romney / Trump are doing now. That ended with tanking our economy. Who wants a rerun?
    * A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country. ~ Texas Guinan

    June 3, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  4. Puddin

    This guy is an arrogant cuss. My opinion: he needs to put a sock in it. I've always wondered how many bankruptcies he has declared. What a way to get out of his responsibilities.

    June 3, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  5. Anonymous

    "The big question is whether Obama is a foreign national and lied about where he was born or he scammed his way into getting in a college of high pedigree like Harvard by lying about his birth place and receiving foreign tuition aide. One way or another, I am seeing a pattern here. I believe he was born in the US so in my opinion all you lemmings that voted for hope and change got scammed by the biggest con artist around. If he wants to prove he’s not a con man then open up your college records. I want to see what you wrote in your application to Harvard, I want to see what you wrote in your thesis. I want to see what your GPA was. If there is nothing to hide then why not make it puplic?"

    Oh look, another afterbirther. Tell you what Russ, how about you also call for Rmoney to release his last 10 years of tax returns (including any foreign ones he may have filed), the Bain records on "job creation" and the missing MA records he concealed or destroyed, and then I'll support your request. Deal?

    June 3, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  6. Anonymous

    Gotta love Trumps transparently pathetic attempt to set up a lose/lose "gotcha" for the President. First, try to goad him into the Iran attack he and all the neocon GOBP members want. The preemptively refuse to grant any credit should the President in fact do so.

    June 3, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  7. breathe deep

    I understand now what "smaller government" means. It means government small enough to only fit into the small segments of society. When the cry is for goverment to get out of our lives, "our" is the operative word. "our" is the collective of the "too big to fail" society. where tax money is too collective to be put towards the people's will and benefit, in favor of the donors that we hope to satisfy at some point to where somebody is going to profit from the collective infrastruture that we all ensure will be maintained, but from nobody wants to spearhead.

    June 3, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  8. T'sah From Virginia

    ►TRENDING: Trump digs at Obama’s birthplace, suggests Iran war ‘good politics’ for incumbent◄
    Enough is enough – R-Money is a FOOL to believe that he’s being LOVED by TRUMPet
    And speaking about WAR, what does that bring?? – Lower gas prices to go even higher??
    Come on Now – Isn’t it obvious the Republicans DO NOT want the economy to recover!!!


    The economy is slowly recovering even though millions of jobs were added to the private sector – WHY? Because Republican governors are KILLING jobs all over the country!
    Gas prices are going down but will once again RISE – WHY? Republicans will again talk about war, Wars, WARS with Iran
    In Florida alone 180,000 voters are being disenfranchised – WHY? Voter suppression by Republican governors in almost EVERY state in America!
    War against ALL women rights – Why? Republicans in Congress THINK they have “nothing else to do because “creating JOBS means President Obama succeeds!!

    From DAY 1 – the Republicans PLOTTED to destroy President Obama and they TRIED to achieve that the past 3 years – All we need is for the American people to WAKE UP and realize who the real obstructionist are!!!

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!!

    June 3, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  9. Anonymous

    If at some time between now and November Mitt Romney chooses to act like an adult and prove that he is mentally fit to become President of the United States using adult conversation not filled with lies, barbs, and secrecy, I'll once again pay attention to his rhetoric.

    At this point I've lost all respect for him - as a candidate certainly, but also as a man who professes himself to be of sound moral character.

    There is nothing moral about Mitt Romney hiding behind Donald Trump's coattails.

    June 3, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  10. Gurgyl

    Just keep quite--laughing stack.....heeeeeee

    June 3, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  11. Paqrat137

    Mitt got is attack dog – Der Donald – with total deny ability. Now he can say, "that's his opinion I can;t do anything baout it." Der Donald is a one-man SuperPAC and like them have no direct input from the candidate – nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

    June 3, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  12. Rick

    Bush knew War was good politics.

    June 3, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  13. Tony

    As a Republican by convenience, Trump apparently missed the memo that Romney wants a war with Iran. Right after the 2008 election, Trump said that Bush may be the worst president in American history, and Obama has a chance to be a great president. Although Romney does not endorse Trump's birther claim, Romney does not repudiate it either, because, as he said, he needs Trump's support.

    June 3, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  14. once upon a horse

    the persons talking about starting a war with Iran so far have been Republicans such as McCain and Romney himself. The president is busy trying to end a war so it makes little since for him to start another.

    June 3, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  15. Richard

    Opposing war with Iran will not win anyone any favours with the Jews and that can definitely hurt a politician's chances, especially with the financial support various well-off Jewish individuals and groups (AIPAC) provide supporters. So Trump is probably right.

    June 3, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  16. Slightly Left of Center

    Who is more foolish - the fool, or the fool that follows him?

    June 3, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  17. Rudy NYC

    When Mitt Romney tells you that he has "supporters" who say things he disagrees with, he is not talking about Donald Trump. He wants you to think that he is talking about Trump, but he is not. He's using words to fool people. Donald Trump is far more than a mere "supporter."

    Donald Trump is a "surrogate" for Mitt Romney. When a surrogate speaks, the surrogate speaks for the candidate. Mitt Romney when to the alter of Trump in NYC, just like the other extremist candidates. Donald Trump has conducted fund raisers for Mitt Romney. Donald Trump has recorded robo=calls for MItt Romney. Donald Trump even hosted a birthday party for Mitt Romney's wife!

    So, when Mitt Romney tells you with a straight face that he is not responsible for "supporters", he can say it truthfully and with a straight face. He's just not talking about his surrogate, Donald Trump. Don't be fooled.

    June 3, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  18. Citizen

    @RS, CA
    Thank you for your enlightening insight. Just for the records Rove, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz started the Iraq war based on flimsy evidence of WMD precisely to help the then incumbent win an election. Any war is evil and one can predict with enough confidence that Mr. Obama will not stoop to that level. If you believe in what Mr. “hotair” Trump says all one can do is to pity you.

    June 3, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  19. Indy

    Someone wrote: Hey, Debbie, does "you know a man by the company he keeps" apply to President Obama's "company" of Ayers and Jeremiah Wright, etc.? Or does it only apply to Governor Romney?

    Yes it applies to Romney because Trump is campaigning and raising money for Romney who has been running for President for the past seven years. Jeremiah Wright did not raise money for Obama or give campaign speeches. HUGE difference here.

    June 3, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  20. drcoltrane

    It's hard for me to read this and not think that this is a post on the Onion. It's just so unbelievably ridiculous.

    June 3, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  21. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    The Iran War is good politics for Obama???? It was a gift from the departing Republicans as was the war in Afganistan. Not to mention a nearly ruined economy, a crumbling infrastructure, tax breaks for the really rich so more of the burden of the Republicans failed policies fall on the middle class and poor and jobs departing the United States in unprecedented numbers.
    Republican politicians use wars as political tokens. The only reason they are so pro-military is that they make money hand over foot from military contracts. Unfortunately they are better at starting them than ending them. Eisenhower sent the first troops into Vietnam, Nixon gave the North Vietnamese South Vietnam on a silver platter. Bush the first went into Kuwait to free millions of barrels of oil for his Republican oil partners then stopped before he defeated Iraq. Bush the second invaded Iraq to fix his Daddy's mistake then could not figure out how to get out. Obama got us out. Bush invaded Afganistan to crush the Taliban and get Bin Laden. The Taliban was stronger than before when he left office. Obama has managed to decimate the Taliban leadership and kill Bin Laden.
    All in all I think Obama would have been much happier to not get all the gifts the Republicans left him to fix. By the way, the economy is better now also.

    June 3, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  22. Rudy NYC

    drcoltrane wrote:

    It's hard for me to read this and not think that this is a post on the Onion. It's just so unbelievably ridiculous.
    I could agree with that. Republicans have turned into a laughing stock of a joke. Unfortunately, Republicans are reality.

    June 3, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  23. JasonP

    the Republicans are the ones pounding the drums of war with Iran. Is he nuts? Oh wait, that's too obvious a question.

    June 3, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  24. Dumbpolitics

    Mr. Trump must be buying a weapons manufactuing corp. He is no fool, he knows like we all see that our politicians will listen to the denfense contrators way more than they listen to us voters and taxpayers.

    June 3, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  25. Anonymous

    Slightly Left of Center

    Who is more foolish – the fool, or the fool that follows him?

    Good comment. Might I add "who is more dangerous – the weak minded fool, or the dangerous fool who has added nearly ALL of GWs former advisers to his campaign, and should he become elected, his administration"? Mitt Romney is both weak minded and dangerous.

    The danger stems from a candidate showing no core foundation as evidenced by Romney's willingness to repeat GWs mistakes using the very same people who manipulated GW for eight years by dragging us into two unfunded wars, leaving us a world economy in shambles, and creating a redistribution of wealth unsurpassed in American history through the funneling of tax cuts to the already grossly wealthy. Learning from one's errors has never been a Republican trait, never more obvious than these past four years. Romney is doomed to once again drag America down into the gutter from whence Obama has actually begun to dig us out of.

    June 3, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
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