'Natural born' citizenship questions go beyond Obama to GOP potential
By Joe Kovacs
© 2011 WorldNetDaily
PALM BEACH, Fla. – Is potential Republican candidate Donald Trump eligible to run for U.S. president?
The question comes in the wake of high-profile statements by the billionaire developer and Palm Beach resident who has suggested Barack Obama's presidency could be "illegal" if he does not release his long-form, hospital-specified birth certificate to prove he's constitutionally qualified to occupy the White House.
"To be honest with you, I want him to have a birth certificate," Trump said on Fox News, "because [otherwise] that would mean that his presidency was, I guess you'd have to say, illegal. You have to be born in the United States."
Trump this week released two copies of his original birth certificates, one from the Jamaica Hospital in Queens, N.Y., and the other long-form, official government document from the New York Department of Health, confirming Trump's birthplace at Jamaica Hospital on June 14, 1946.
Donald Trump's official birth certificate – for full image, including certifying note from registrar, click here (courtesy ABC News)
But some have still wondered if Trump can be considered a "natural born citizen" as the Constitution requires since his mother, Mary Anne MacLeod Trump, was born in Stornoway, Scotland, thus giving her British citizenship at her birth in 1912. Donald's father, real-estate mogul Frederick Christ Trump, was an American by birth in New York City in 1905.
Donald Trump's mother Mary Anne MacLeod, shown in 1932, was born in Stornoway, Scotland
AOL News contributor Mara Gay suggested one of the reasons why Donald Trump may be pushing the eligibility issue is because "he's trying to deflect attention from his own shady, Scottish origins."
Columnist Ben Smith at Politico jokingly wrote, "Trump's mother, it should be noted, was born in Scotland, which is not part of the United States. His plane is registered in the Bahamas, also a foreign country. This fact pattern – along with the wave of new questions surrounding what he claims is a birth certificate – raises serious doubts about his eligibility to serve as president of the United States."
While the Constitution itself does not provide a definition of natural-born citizen, those challenging President Obama have asserted that it requires not only a birth having taken place on U.S. soil, but also that both parents of the child have to be U.S. citizens at the time of the child's birth. Only Obama's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, was a U.S. citizen when Obama was born, while his father, Barack Hussein Obama Sr., was a British subject, having been born in Kenya.
Now the Birthers.org website, which has been among those questioning Obama's eligibility, reports that Trump's mother did indeed become a U.S. citizen before the birth of Donald. It displays a small image of a signed naturalization receipt for Mrs. Trump on March 10, 1942, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, four years before Donald was born.
WND found a larger image of the document in the National Archives, showing details for Mary Anne Trump, including her home address of 175 24 Devonshire Rd. in Jamaica, N.Y. and her age of 29 at the time of the record.
Receipt in National Archives of Mary Anne Trump's naturalization dated March 10, 1942, four years before she gave birth to Donald Trump.
"Donald Trump is a natural born American citizen, above the age of 35 and a resident of the United States of America longer than 14 years," declares Birthers.org. "He has provided sufficient documentation attesting to his place of birth, and upon research of his parents it is determined that they were both American citizens at the time of his birth. ... There is no doubt that at his birth his natural allegiance for the United States of America was and still is unalienable. ... Congratulations Donald, you are the first prospective presidential candidate to qualify as a natural born citizen."
The founder of Birthers.org, Teo Bear, told WND, "I am 99.999 percent certain Donald Trump meets the definition of a natural-born citizen as our founding fathers understood it to mean. Once Donald authorizes the release of his mother's naturalization, I will move to 100 percent."
He said the confusion for this issue rests with a weak education system in America.
"We have as a nation become dumbed down in understanding our heritage. We look for the simplest answers, so 'natural born' became 'born on the soil,'" Bear said.
"As it stands now, according to Obama's supporters, if [al-Qaida mastermind Osama] bin Laden were captured and one of his many wives came to America for his trial while carrying his child, and if that child were born in the United States, that child would be eligible to be president in their view. That, my friend, is the result of an education system that promotes politically correct thinking in place of critical thinking."Mary Anne Trump, a philanthropist who supported various charities near her home in New York, died in August 2000 at age 88. Fred Trump passed away in June 1999.
Donald Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen is defending is his client's natural-born citizenship, telling Britain's Daily Mail: "I don't think anyone's going to question whether Donald Trump is or was not born in New York."
Cohen pointed out there are hospitals named after Trump's family in New York, but the only ones named after Obama are in Africa.
Radio host Rush Limbaugh called that comment "priceless" today, adding, "I don't know that his brother's hut has a name."
When asked by a caller if Trump or Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., had a better shot at the presidency at this point, Limbaugh said it was "too soon to say," but then added, "You'd have to say Trump just on name recognition alone. At this stage, you'd have to say that. Far more people, many more people know who Trump is than Michele Bachmann."
Limbaugh also played a parody song to the tune of Bruce Springsteen's hit "Born in the USA," performed by Obama soundalike Paul Shanklin.
The opening lyrics state:
Born down in that Hawaiian town
They were too busy to write it down
Trump and others, they think too much
They say I got something to cover up
Born in the USA
I was, born in the USA
I was, born in the USA
Not somewhere far away
A video parody was also posted today on YouTube, featuring a fictional edition of Trump's TV program "The Apprentice" with an episode titled "Eligibility Edition" with WND senior staff writer Jerome Corsi included:
Karl Rove, the former adviser to President George W. Bush, told Bill O'Reilly of Fox News tonight that he thought Trump's promotion of the eligibility issue could hurt the entrepreneur.
"This is a mistake. It will marginalize him," Rove said. He claimed the right-wing base of the party is "not in love with the issue," and added "Barack Obama wants Republicans to fall into this trap."
Meanwhile, potential Republican presidential candidate, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is blasting Trump's call to see Obama's birth certificate, claiming it has already been made public, at least according to some news agencies.
"The news reports from CNN and others have said they've seen the birth certificate," Pawlenty told Sean Hannity of the Fox News Channel last night.
"Never trust CNN," Hannity interjected.
Pawlenty continued, "I watched it myself. CNN reported they saw the birth certificate. So, you got to either believe that they didn't [see it] and they're lying, or there's something else going on."
For its part, CNN is continuing to report false information on its website about the controversy.
This paragraph posted on its site yesterday by CNN producer Alexander Mooney has numerous errors: "It should be noted that CNN and other news organizations have thoroughly debunked the rumors about the president's birthplace. Hawaii has released a copy of the president's birth certificate – officially called a 'certificate of live birth' – and the hospital where he was born took out ads in two Hawaiian newspapers in 1961 announcing the birth."
The first error is that rumors about the president's actual birthplace have not been debunked. The precise birthplace, including the city and hospital of birth for Obama, is still a matter of conjecture because no long-form, hospital-specified birth certificate has ever been produced officially documenting them, and no hospital has ever gone on the record to confirm Obama was born at its facility.
Secondly, the state of Hawaii has never verified any of the president's purported birth-certificate images that have been displayed online. Former Press Secretary Robert Gibbs claimed he personally put an image of the short-form certification of live birth on the Internet, not the long-form certificate of live birth, but the state of Hawaii has refused to confirm its authenticity as well as one examined by Factcheck.org.
This short-form "certification of live birth" released by the Obama campaign in 2008 does not have the name of the hospital or an attending physician, which would be included on a long-form "certificate of live birth," which has never been produced by Obama.
CNN also mistakenly claims "the hospital where he was born took out ads in two Hawaiian newspapers in 1961 announcing the birth."
Birth announcements from the Star-Bulletin (left) and Honolulu Advertiser (right), with Barack Obama's announcement marked
Once again, the hospital of Obama's birth remains unconfirmed, and as WND has reported, it was not the hospitals that took out newspaper ads about births, but rather the Hawaii Department of Health that provided information to newspapers based on certifications of live birth, meaning someone reported the birth of a child. Such certifications could be issued for children not even born in Hawaii.
Additionally, Obama's parents did not even live at the address published in the Hawaiian newspapers. His grandparents actually lived there.
How Hawaiian papers published announcements
WND discovered the following in previous discussions with the two Honolulu newspapers:
- Neither newspaper had an editor to vet birth announcements;
- Neither newspaper independently checked the truthfulness or accuracy of birth announcement information derived from Hawaii Department of Health vital statistics records;
- Both newspapers merely published birth announcements, as received, from information published in Hawaii's Department of Health vital statistics announcements.
- Hawaiian hospitals did not report to newspapers any birth information;
- Hawaiian certifications of live birth do not typically list the hospital of birth or attending physician;
- Errors and misstatements in birth announcements published in the two Hawaiian newspapers have been documented, stemming from incorrect information recorded by the Hawaiian Department of Health.
Trump injected new life into the debate over Obama's eligibility last week during an appearance on ABC's "The View," demanding to see Obama's long-form birth certificate.
"I want him to show his birth certificate! There's something on that birth certificate that he doesn't like," Trump said.
"The other thing. If you go back to my first grade, my kindergarten, people remember me. Nobody from those early years remembers him. If you're going to be the president of the United States, it says very profoundly that you have to be born in this country."
Trump noted his skepticism of evidence proffered thus far about Obama's life history, stating, "I grew up in New York. Wall Street was a big part. I have seen fraud and I have seen scandal and I have seen a lot of things that people don't see. I've seen people take a $100 bill and make it a $1,000,000 bill. The point is, I can't rely on some newspaper [birth announcement] that they showed [to prove the president's eligibility]. I want him to show his birth certificate!"
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