Donald Trump Takes a Ride on the Birther Train

People say the craziest things to get themselves more publicity.

Posted: 03/18/2011 04:26 PM EDT
Filed Under Barack Obama

It seems that Republicans will say anything to keep their conservative base happy, and billionaire businessman Donald Trump is no exception. In an interview on ABC’s Good Morning America last week, he suggested that President Obama’s background is still a mystery.

“He grew up and nobody knew him. You know? When you interview people, if ever I got the nomination, if I ever decide to run, you may go back and interview people from my kindergarten. They’ll remember me,” he said. “Nobody ever comes forward. Nobody knows who he his until later in his life. It’s very strange. The whole thing is very strange.”

Such comments are like red meat for a fringe group of people known as “birthers,” who say that the president is not an American-born citizen. A number of Republicans considering a 2012 challenge to Obama have developed an unsavory habit of cultivating that falsehood. Earlier this month, former Arkansas Gov. Michael Huckabee earlier this month said that the president was raised in Kenya. Oops! What he meant to say was Indonesia, where Obama spent a few years of his childhood.

In his ABC interview, Trump also described himself as “really smart.” But if that were true, why would he say something so stupid? The likely reason is that it keeps him in the headlines as he flirts with a potential presidential bid that probably won’t come to fruition. But it also highlights the problem that more serious candidates will face on the campaign trail next year as they seek to find the balance between satisfying their base and winning support from the independent voters they’ll need to actually win.