Philip Klein tried to warn us back in February, but oh well. Alternate headline: “Who’s up for another news cycle devoted to talking about Obama’s birthplace instead of unemployment?”
“A book publisher came out three days ago and said that in his written synopsis of his book,” Trump went on, “he said he was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia. His mother never spent a day in the hospital.”
Actually, Obama’s literary agency at the time, two decades ago, published a recently discovered catalogue of clients and their projects that included erroneous information about Obama and a prospective book about race that he ended up not writing. An agency assistant back then, Miriam Goderich, said last week that she was mistaken when she wrote that Obama was born in Kenya.
But Trump isn’t buying it.
“That’s what he told the literary agent,” Trump insisted. “That’s the way life works… He didn’t know he was running for president, so he told the truth. The literary agent wrote down what he said… He said he was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia… Now they’re saying it was a mistake. Just like his Kenyan grandmother said he was born in Kenya, and she pointed down the road to the hospital, and after people started screaming at her she said, ‘Oh, I mean Hawaii.’ Give me a break.”
He’s talking about Joel Pollak’s piece at Breitbart.com last week, which revealed a booklet published in 1991 by O’s literary agent listing his birthplace as Kenya. Trump’s point is that the booklet proves that Obama didn’t start telling people he was born in Hawaii until later in life, when he started thinking about running for president and encountered the eligibility issue. In that case, though, how to explain this? The New York Times, February 6, 1990:
The new president of the [Harvard Law] Review is Barack Obama, a 28-year-old graduate of Columbia University who spent four years heading a community development program for poor blacks on Chicago’s South Side before enrolling in law school. His late father, Barack Obama, was a finance minister in Kenya and his mother, Ann Dunham, is an American anthropologist now doing fieldwork in Indonesia. Mr. Obama was born in Hawaii.
”The fact that I’ve been elected shows a lot of progress,” Mr. Obama said today in an interview. ”It’s encouraging.
I’m guessing with 99.9 percent confidence that they got the detail about being born in Hawaii from the man himself. This was a biographical puff piece about him becoming the first black editor of the Journal, after all; the easiest way to gather facts about his background for a story as easy and uncontroversial as that was to simply ask him. If he was telling reporters that his birthplace was Hawaii fully a year before the literary agent’s booklet came out, then Trump’s theory is demolished. Although I realize that won’t stop him: The new theory will be that Obama was already eyeing the presidency even as a young Harvard Law editor and started pushing the “Hawaii” story as sinister cover. That’s totally incoherent if you believe that he was also the source of the erroneous Kenya detail in his literary booklet bio, but there you go. We’re already in Phase Eight of Trump’s Birther evolution, so what’s one more?
Expect plenty of “Sistah Souljah moment” buzz next week from the media in anticipation of the Romney/Trump event. In fact, Mitt’s advisors already seem to be preparing for it, just in case. Says Kevin Madden, “He’ll stand up next to Donald Trump and he’ll talk about why he wants to be president. Any time the subject goes off of that, where it’s something where…Governor Romney would disagree, he’s going to make that very clear. Exit question via Byron York: Have Birthers read the law?