Possible Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says he is not sure President Barack Obama was born in the United States.
“Everybody that even gives a hint of being a birther … even a little bit of a hint, like, gee, you know, maybe, just maybe this much of a chance, they label them as an idiot. Let me tell you, I’m a really smart guy,” Trump told ABC News’ Ashley Banfield in an interview. “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. Nobody ever comes forward. Nobody knows who he is until later in his life. It’s very strange. The whole thing is very strange.”
Trump was echoing statements he made at the Conservative Political Action Conference in January. “Our current president came out of nowhere,” he said in a surprise speech at the event. “Came out of nowhere. In fact, I’ll go a step further: the people that went to school with him, they never saw him; they don’t know who he is. Crazy!”
However, Dan Amira notes that the future president’s kindergarten teachers, Aimee Yatsushiro and Katherine Nakamoto, told a Hawaii newspaper in 2009 they remembered Obama. “He was a cute, likable, heavy build-child,” Yatsushiro told The Maui News. “I could visualize Barry (Obama) smiling, dressed in his long-sleeved, white shirt tucked into his brown Bermuda shorts, and wearing laced shoes.” A picture of Obama with his kindergarten class has also been made public.
The billionaire real estate mogul went on to share his thoughts on some of the other possible contenders for the Republican nomination. According to Trump, Mitt Romney “doesn’t seem to resonate”, Tim Pawlenty may not be able to “captivate the voters”, Jon Huntsman is “very disloyal”, Mike Huckabee “could really get some votes”, and said Sarah Palin made a “tragic mistake” by leaving office halfway through her term as Governor of Alaska. When asked about Newt Gingrich, Trump relied that he likes the former Speaker of the House because Gingrich “just joined my club in Washington.”