Conservative Media Somehow Declare Trump "The Winner" Of Birther Controversy
Research ››› ››› HARDEEP DHILLON
After President Obama released the long-form version of his birth certificate, members of the conservative media declared Donald Trump the "winner" for having pushed birther theories so intently. However, these conservative media figures ignored the fact that the long-form birth certificate made Trump's previous claims that Obama's birth certificate "was missing" and that Obama might not even "have a birth certificate" look completely ridiculous.
Conservative Media Champion Donald Trump: The "President Got Trumped"
Fox's Dick Morris: Trump Is The "Winner" On Birth Certificate Issue. During the April 27 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, conservative writer and commentator Dick Morris declared Donald Trump the "winner" over the birth certificate issue. From The O'Reilly Factor:
BILL O'REILLY (host): Do you think this birth certificate stuff hurt him in the long run with independent voters?
MORRIS: No, I think it helped him because of -- especially now that Obama answered. It legitimizes his candidacy.
O'REILLY: It empowers Trump.
O'REILLY: It empowers Trump. So Trump looks like the winner would you say in this?
MORRIS: Oh yeah, sure. Because Obama had to answer. [Fox News Channel, The O'Reilly Factor, 4/27/11]
Daily News' Tantaros Agrees That "The Winner Here Is Trump." In a Fox & Friends segment on April 28, co-host Steve Doocy hosted conservative New York Daily News columnist Andrea Tantaros and Democratic strategist Bob Beckel for an assessment of "Who really won the birth certificate bru-ha-ha? President Obama or Donald Trump and the GOP?" Doocy stated: "Andrea, you say the winner here is Trump." Tantaros replied: "Yeah. Look, think about what Trump did. He resurrected this issue and actually got the president himself to respond -- to commit the prestige of that office to the podium yesterday which was a huge mistake." Tantators later added:
TANTAROS: So, going forward, Trump, he won this one, but he's got to get back to the issues. Stop talking about the grades. And I think Trump can really move the needle here. Other Republican candidates should adopt at least his strategy of talking tough and talking serious. [Fox News Channel, Fox & Friends, 4/28/11]
Tantaros: "Obama Only Elevated Donald Trump And Made Himself Look Thin-Skinned." In an April 27 FoxNews.com post headlined "4 Ways the White House Screwed Up the Obama Birth Certificate Announcement," Tantaros wrote:
The White House has made a lot of missteps, but the handling of the "birther" issue might be one of its biggest. Here are 4 examples of where they got it wrong:
1. Putting the President out in front. Press Secretary Jay Carney might be new to the job but that's still no excuse for this media gaffe. The White House communications team should have never used the President as the spokesperson to address his birth certificate. This was a grand mis-use of the bully pulpit and should have been kept at the staff level. Obama only elevated Donald Trump and made himself look thin-skinned when it comes to criticism that he and his staff have already dismissed. [Fox News, 4/27/11]
- Fox Nation later promoted the story. [Fox Nation, 4/27/11]
CBN's David Brody: "Chalk One Up For 'The Donald.'" On April 27, Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody published a blog post titled "Donald Trump is Big Winner in the Obama Birth Certificate Story." Brody wrote: "Donald Trump wins because he FORCED this White House into releasing the birth certificate. Do you really think there is any other Republican contender for The White House that could have had the same success? Didn't think so." From The Brody File:
Chalk one up for "The Donald." Say what you want about Trump but here's the reality: When Trump speaks, people listen...and President Obama reacts.
There shouldn't even be a debate here. Donald Trump wins because he FORCED this White House into releasing the birth certificate. Do you really think there is any other Republican contender for The White House that could have had the same success? Didn't think so.
This is why Trump is resonating with many conservatives. He's not ashamed to take on Obama with gusto, arrogance and yes, chutzpah (look it up!). [Christian Broadcasting Network, The Brody File, 4/27/11]
Washington Times op-ed: The "President Got Trumped." In an op-ed published by The Washington Times, conservative commentator Matt Patterson wrote: "Mr. Obama may have at last deflated the [birther] issue once and for all, but by waiting so long to do so, he also has raised disturbing questions about his character and judgment. How is that not a defeat?" From the April 27 post:
Amazing. I have never seen anything like the bizarre spectacle that unfolded yesterday, when the president of the United States was forced by a private citizen - neither a journalist nor (as yet) a politician - to prove his status as natural-born citizen, more than two years after he was elected to the highest office in the land.
No matter how the White House tries to spin this, President Obama has been deeply damaged by this birth-certificate mess, damage that is entirely self-inflicted. If his long-form birth certificate was available to the president all along, why on earth did he not release it years ago? Instead, he stonewalled just enough for the whole matter to appear suspicious to large numbers of Americans, leaving a perfect opening for a skilled opportunist like Donald Trump, who has played the president like a well-worn violin.
Indeed, Mr. Trump positioned Mr. Obama in such a manner that the latter was faced with just two unpalatable choices: 1) Keep the birth certificate under wraps, allowing suspicion to grow and possibly undermine his re-election chances, or 2) cave in to pressure and, by doing so, elevate Mr. Trump (supposedly a clown, remember?) to his level.
In choosing the second of the two options, Mr. Obama thinks he at least has taken away the whole raisond'etre of the presumed Trump candidacy, and perhaps he has. Unfortunately, he also unwittingly has proved one of Mr. Trump's main critiques of his presidency - that Mr. Obama is weak. Anyone who has listened carefully to Mr. Trump these past weeks has heard him say over and over again that Mr. Obama doesn't know what he's doing, that other world leaders (especially China and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) are taking advantage of him, that he is far from the tough, strong leader America needs in these dangerous times. Nothing Mr. Obama has done in response to Mr. Trump has disproved this notion - indeed, quite the contrary.
It is not only the president whom Mr. Trump has made to appear a fool. At his gloating news conference from a tarmac in New Hampshire where he took deserved credit for forcing the president's hand, Mr. Trump also threw a harsh light at the entire media establishment. He ridiculed them for failing to hold the president to the same standards they apply to everyone else (including Mr. Trump), basically saying to reporters: "I've just done the job you should have done three years ago. You're welcome."
Whether he will be a serious candidate or not, Mr. Trump has proved three things beyond shadow of a doubt: One, he can move public opinion. The day before Mr. Obama at last released his birth certificate, a USAToday poll found that just 38 percent of Americans thought Mr. Obama "definitely" had been born in America, doubt certainly driven by Mr. Trump's one-man campaign. Two, he can bully the most powerful man in the world. And three, the media in the United States are a joke, completely uninterested in doing their due diligence by vetting Mr. Obama's background, though anyone remembering the Dan Rather fiasco will recall that they were happy to invent things about George W. Bush.
Mr. Obama may have at last deflated the issue once and for all, but by waiting so long to do so, he also has raised disturbing questions about his character and judgment. How is that not a defeat? [The Washington Times, 4/27/11]
Pamela Geller: "We Owe Trump A Debt Of Gratitude." In an April 27 post, right-wing blogger Pamela Geller wrote:
Why is Obama gaslighting the American people? Why is he toying with, gaming the American people? I broke the story of the altered COLB back in June and July of 2008 -- the COLB he posted to his farcically-titled blog, "Fight the Smears," was an altered document. He subsequently admitted to dual citizenship for close to half his life. The question was a real one, and the American people have a right to know who and what is serving them at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
We owe Trump a debt of gratitude. [Atlas Shrugs, 4/27/11]
- Geller Has Trafficked In Wild Conspiracies About Obama's Birth Certificate. Geller later sat in as a guest on Eric Bolling's Follow the Money, and claimed that Obama's long-form certificate was "Photoshopped." Geller has also previously reposted a theory suggesting that Obama is the love child of Malcolm X. [Fox Business, Follow the Money, 4/28/11, Atlas Shrugs,10/24/08, 7/20/08]
Trump Previously Made False Claims That Birth Certificate Was "Missing" And Possibly Non-Existent
Trump: "[Obama] Doesn't Have A Birth Certificate." In a post on April 28, The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler highlighted Donald Trump's birther statements regarding President Obama. Trump has previously stated "[Obama] doesn't have a birth certificate" and "the birth certificate is missing":
"I have a birth certificate. People have birth certificates. He doesn't have a birth certificate. He may have one but there is something on that birth certificate -- maybe religion, maybe it says he's a Muslim, I don't know. Maybe he doesn't want that. Or, he may not have one."
-- Donald Trump, March 30, 2011
"I have people that have been studying it and they cannot believe what they're finding. He spent $2 million in legal fees trying on to get away from this issue, and if it weren't an issue, why wouldn't he just solve it? I wish he would because if he doesn't, it's one of the greatest scams in the history of politics and in the history, period. You are not allowed to be a president if you're not born in this country. Right now, I have real doubts."
-- Trump, April 7, 2011
"Maybe I'm going to do the tax returns when Obama does his birth certificate. I may tie my tax returns. I'd love to give my tax returns. I may tie my tax returns into Obama's birth certificate."
-- Trump, April 19, 2011
"I've been told very recently, Anderson, that the birth certificate is missing. I've been told that it's not there or it doesn't exist. And if that's the case, it's a big problem."
-- Trump, April 25, 2011 [The Washington Post, 4/28/11]
- Fox News Channel, The Washington Times, Christian Broadcasting Network, Fox Business, Fox Nation
- Bill O'Reilly, Dick Morris, Steve Doocy, David Brody, Andrea Tantaros, Eric Bolling, Pamela Geller, Matt Patterson
- The O'Reilly Factor, FOX & Friends, Atlas Shrugs, Fox News Reporting, Follow the Money with Eric Bolling