Donald Trump’s questioning of President Obama’s birth certificate hit a nerve in the presidential campaign this week.
Mitt Romney said on Friday in his native state of Michigan that, “No one has ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised.” The Republican presidential candidate insisted afterwards that it was just a joke. That didn’t stop Obama campaign manager Jim Messina from immediately used the comment in a fundraising appeal, calling it “a new low for Mitt Romney.”
“That wasn’t a low at all,” the real estate mogul told me in a sit-down interview on Sunday in Sarasota. “The low was when they accused Gov. Romney of essentially murder, when they called him a felon. Those are the lows. What he said is not a low at all.”
Mr. Trump said that more will come out about the legitimacy of Mr. Obama’s birth in the weeks and months leading up to the election. The Constitution says that only native-born Americans can be president. Mr. Trump cited polls showing that, “A tremendous amount of people believe there is certainly a validity to it.”
The billionaire businessman and his wife Melania were on the west coast of Florida to receive the “Statesman of the Year” award from the Sarasota Republican Party. Mr. Trump was slated to have a large role in the Republican National Committee convention in Tampa on Monday night, but it was cancelled along with the rest of the official events due to hurricane Isaac.
“We got blown apart coming off the plane,” the real estate mogul said of flying in on the private plane owned by Howard M. Lorber, president and CEO of the Miami-based Vector Group. “But other than that, it was fine.”
I interviewed the charismatic and outspoken star of “Celebrity Apprentice” star in the couple’s hotel suite before they attended the local fundraiser for 1,000 — the biggest dinner in the hotel’s history — for an editorial on the economic crises facing this nation, which will be in Tuesday’s newspaper.