This week, leading birther Jerome Corsi, the author of the new book, Where's the Birth Certificate? The Case That Barack Obama Is Not Eligible To Be President, claimed Donald Trump told him that President Barack Obama's recently released long-form birth certificate is a forgery. In a story published by WorldNetDaily, Corsi said that Trump told him that he'd gotten his own computer expert to take a look at the document and that this expert concluded it was computer-generated. WND's article made it seem that Trump was getting back into the birther business.
But Trump says Corsi's not telling the truth.
In a statement to Mother Jones, Trump said:
I am proud of the fact that I was able to get President Obama to release his birth certificate. President Clinton couldn’t do it, Senator McCain couldn’t do it—no one else could do it! Frankly, many people were surprised that it took so long for this to happen. Is his birth certificate legitimate? I hope it is for the good of the country, but that’s for experts to determine—not me. I have not read the book written by Jerry Corsi nor did we discuss whether or not the birth certificate was computer generated or in any way fabricated. I merely asked him how his book was doing and wished him good luck.
During an on-air conversation with conspiracy theorist/talk show host Alex Jones—which was posted within the WND story on Trump's supposed comments—Corsi discussed at length his conversation with Trump. Not once did Corsi mention that Trump had said he doubted the authenticity of the document. In fact, Corsi noted that he had pressed Trump to publicly question the document and to demand a forensic investigation of the original record (as opposed to the electronic version released by the White House). "Trump didn't seem interested in any of that," Corsi told Jones. Corsi noted that Trump was also not enthusiastic about Corsi's latest birther-related pursuits: encouraging the filing of criminal charges claiming the birth certificate was forged, and chasing down supposed leads showing birth records related to Obama in Kenya were destroyed. Corsi repeatedly complained about Trump dropping the birther ball. Corsi also said that he had told Trump that it "sure looks like you dropped out" of the birther crusade because he received "a big payment" from NBC, referring to the renewal of Celebrity Apprentice. Jones and Corsi discussed the possibility that Trump is now in league with the Obama White House—plotting against birthers and Republicans.
That Corsi's claims about this particular phone call seem a little shaky is not surprising. He also wrote, among other things, Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry, a book about Kerry's war record in Vietnam that was roundly criticized for factual inaccuracies. At various times, Corsi has claimed that 9/11 was an inside job; that President George W. Bush intended to create a "North American Union" with a single currency for Canada, the United States, and Mexico; and that Democratic politicians are helping the Iranian mullahs, who are trying to obtain nuclear weapons.
The WND story also seemed a bit at odds with Trump's public comments in response to Obama's release of his long-form birth certificate. In April, as he did today, Trump took credit for forcing Obama's hand after making the document a centerpiece of his short-lived presidential campaign. "I am really honored, frankly, to have played such a big role in hopefully getting rid of this issue," he said.
Trump, who had briefly been the most prominent figure to take up the birther cause, stopped talking about the issue after Obama released his birth certificate (and, of course, after Obama made Trump and his birther fixation the butt of several jokes at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner). Corsi, though, has an explanation for that. According to WND, Trump told Corsi that just because he wasn't talking about the birth certificate after the April release didn't mean that he was satisfied with the document. The story says Trump told Corsi: "I always said I wanted to know if it was real."
WND has used the Trump-Corsi conversation to draw attention to its own extensive "case" about why the birth certificate must be a forgery, citing various experts on such issues as "kerning" (the squishing together of letters that can only be done with a word processor, not a typewriter). WND has posted an annotated version of the document, highlighting all the alleged fakery. Appending Trump's name on the story, of course, is simply a way of trying to keep the issue alive, and to sell some books. WND reportedly printed 200,000 copies of Where's the Birth Certificate?
It's clear that this conservative news outlet that has made a franchise out of questioning the president's citizenship is nowhere near ready to let it go. In fact, Corsi claims that he knew the White House would be releasing a forged birth certificate weeks before Obama made public the long-form document—and that he didn't publicize that information because he wanted the White House to fall into his trap. And Corsi has tried to keep Trump involved. Michael Cohen, Trump's spokesman, says that Corsi has repeatedly called Trump's office "to provide Mr. Trump with information on the birth certificate issue, even after Mr. Trump publicly stated that the president had publicly released his birth certificate and that it's time to move on to more important issues."
The WND article was headlined, "You're forged! Trump declares Obama's birth certificate fake." This fact-free ploy might cause Corsi to hear Trump's famous catchphrase—that is, if Corsi can ever get the billionaire developer on the phone again.
UPDATE: Here's WorldNetDaily's response to Mother Jones.