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Donald Trump lost in ‘birther’ land

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By Rick Howell

    The resistance to Barack Obama as President of the United States has produced a virus of hysteria among some people in this country. The “birthers” are the one manifestation of this that just won’t die out.

    Now, along comes a very prominent person, the billionaire real estate mogul, Donald Trump, who says he’s interested in running for president. You’d think, given his success in business and finance, that Trump might want to highlight the deficit and the debt, job creation, and similar issues.
But, no, Mr. Trump has a larger “concern,” about where the president was born, about which, he says, “nobody has any information.”
    But there’s plenty of information that confirms the fact that Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, at 7:24 p.m. on August 4, 1961. Donald Trump, and anyone else, could easily access this information if they chose to do so.
    Why an intelligent man such as Donald Trump has decided to run with this birther nonsense is a mystery to a lot of people, and a disappointment to many who like him.
    I don’t know a great deal about his background, but I’ve heard that he inherited a lot of money from his father. That’s how many rich boys gets their start in this country, inheriting daddy’s money.
    However he first got it, he’s certainly grown it well. His book several years ago, “The Art of the Deal,” put him on the map as a celebrity. He’s telegenic and articulate.
    A few years back, someone thought he would be a good fit for a “reality TV” show. Thus, “The Apprentice” was born. Some person, working for Trump in some imaginary capacity, would inevitably not meet his standards, whereupon Trump would give him or her a steely look and say, “You’re fired!”
    In recent weeks, Trump has made any number of appearances on television networks, where he has been confronted with the reliable evidence of the president’s birth. But he has hemmed and hawed and shown little desire to talk about anything else.
    The facts are easily obtainable: It’s against state law in Hawaii to release an actual birth certificate. But anyone can request a copy of what Hawaii calls “a certification of live birth.” The Obama campaign did exactly that in 2008 and posted it on its campaign Web site.
    It’s also been reported many times that Hawaii newspapers published the infant Obama’s birth notice in the days after his birth. Recently, Dr. Chiyome Fukino, the state official formerly in charge of state health records there, marveled to NBC News about the persistence of this particular myth.
    Here’s a line from an MSNBC story on the Internet on April 10: “She (Fukino) found the original birth record properly numbered, half typed and half handwritten, and signed by the doctor who delivered Obama, located in the files. She then put out a public statement asserting to the document’s validity. She later put out another public statement in July 2009 — after reviewing the original birth record a second time.”
    The story described her as “both exasperated and amused” by the tenacity of the birthers. She was also quoted: “They’re going to question the ink on which it was written or say it was fabricated. The whole thing is silly.”
    Yes, it is. You have to wonder if, as Jimmy Carter has suggested, racism isn’t really behind this kind of illogical obsession. But if Donald Trump wants to be taken seriously as a presidential candidate, he needs to lose the birther nonsense.
    Otherwise, the American people can say: “Mr. Trump. You’re fired!”

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Rick Howell, a Bedford native, can be reached by e-mail at NewCenHowell@aol.com.