Donald Trump – one of the world’s richest businessmen – says he is used to reading “nasty and derogatory articles” about himself by a New York Times newspaper Columnist, Gail Collins. Trump’s comments, came after Collins wrote in the newspaper on April 1 this year that Trump was “flirting” his presidential campaign.
She said Trump’s main argument on why he should be taken seriously as a presidential contender was because of his “business success”. She asked whether US president Barrack Obama had ever “hosted a long-running reality series?”, “owned a bankruptcy-bound chain of casinos” and if he had “put his name on a flock of really unattractive high-rise apartment buildings” to which she said a big “No!”
Collins went further to somewhat discredit Trump’s television show, Celebrity Apprentice, saying it is nothing but about “people who are alleged to be famous compete for money for their favorite charities and what one former contestant revealed was a salary of $16,000 apiece. That isn’t much for network TV work, but since one of this year’s celebrities, disgraced former steroid-using baseball player Jose Canseco, recently tried to make a $5,000 fee by sending his brother to impersonate him in an exhibition boxing match, you have to figure it comes in handy”. She claimed Celebrity Apprenticewas “widely regarded as terrible and cheesy programming” despite having “its moments”. Collins said the television show was a “perfect reflection of Trump himself: an orgy of product-placement and personal aggrandizement. All the contestants, including the ones in their 70s, have to refer to their host as ‘Mr. Trump’”.
According to Collins, the contestants “somberly devote themselves to making faux commercials about whatever enterprise has coughed up cash for a major mention that week”. “Then it’s off to the boardroom where people talk ceaselessly about their performance in order to stretch the whole enterprise into a low-cost, two-hour show”. She said the show has a “lot in common with the current Republican presidential campaign” with “endless blathering”. “To establish his birther creds,” wrote Collins, “Trump produced his own birth certificate, after one failed attempt in which he came up with a document that was too weak to qualify for a passport”. According to Collins, before Trump had “worked things out” the entire news cycle had established he was born in New York.
In his response yesterday, Trump said even long before she worked for the NYT, Collins had “written nasty and derogatory articles about me”. “Actually, I have great respect for Ms. Collins in that she has survived so long with so little talent. Her storytelling ability and word usage (coming from me, who has written many bestsellers), is not at a very high level. More importantly, her facts are wrong!”
Trump said “as far as her [Collins’] comments on the so-called ‘birther’ issue, I don’t need Ms. Collins’s advice”. He said “there is a very large segment of our society who believe that Barrack Obama, indeed, was not born in the United States”. This after Collins criticised Trump for questioning Obama’s citizenry.
According to Collins, Trump said once of Obama that: “If he wasn’t born in this country, it’s one of the greatest scams of all time”.
Trump said Obama’s grandmother had said “on tape” that he was born in Kenya.
He said his family in Honolulu was even “fighting over which hospital in Hawaii he was born in-they just don’t know”. But Collins questioned the credibility of Trump’s Obama’s grandmother story, saying the grandmother may have been misunderstood. In 2008, Sara Obama, 86-year old at the time, was asked by Ron McRae, an Anabaptist bishop and birther, whether she was “present when he [Barrack] was born in Kenya” to which she responded through an interpreter that: “She says, yes, she was. She was present when Obama was born.”
And Collins says it is at “this point that some of the tapes floating around the Web stop, which means that the listener doesn’t get to hear the follow-up, which makes it very clear that Sarah Obama misunderstood”. She says the “full conversation ends with the interpreter saying “Hawaii. She says he was born in Hawaii. In the state of Hawaii, where his father, his father was learning there. The state of Hawaii”.
Trump criticised Obama for not producing a birth certificate but only a “totally unsigned ‘certificate of live birth’ which is totally different and of very little significance”. Unlike a birth certificate, said Trump of Obama, a certificate of live birth is very easy to obtain. He said “there are no records in Hawaii that a Barack (sic) Hussein Obama was born there-no bills, no doctors names, no nurses names, no registrations, no payments,” and that “as far as the two notices placed in newspapers, many things could have happened, but some feel the grandparents put an ad in order to show that he was a citizen of the U.S. with all of the benefits thereto”. As a result, one can gather, Obama got US citizenship because “everybody, after all, and especially then, wanted to be a United States citizen”.
He went further to say that if Obama’s questionable birth certificate had been that of former US President George Bush or almost any other President or Presidential aspirant, “they would never have been allowed to attain office, or would have been thrown out of office very quickly”. But thanks to the “press” that protects him that he, Obama, has not been “thrown out of office very quickly” yet. Trump says “what they don’t realize is that if he [Obama] was not born in the United States, they would have uncovered the greatest ‘scam’ in the history of our country” which would have made them “the hottest writer (sic) since Watergate, or beyond”. But Collins hits back at his “list of alleged evidence” of Obama not born in the US, accusing him of using this as a “centerpiece of his faux presidential campaign, falling further and further into the land of the lunatic fringe” she said she found this as quite a “disturbing spectacle — a little like seeing a guy you know from the neighborhood suddenly turn up in the middle of Times Square with his face painted blue and yelling about space aliens”.
She quoted Trump as saying on the television programme, Today, “I thought he was born in this country. Right now I have some real doubts. I have people that actually have been studying it, and they cannot believe what they’re finding”.
On the birth certificate issue, Collins explained that if one is born in Hawaii and requested a copy of his birth certificate, one gets a “certification of live birth [and not the birth certificate as requested by Trump] which the federal government accepts for passports”. She said Obama requested his in 2007 which his campaign has posted on the Internet”. She said if “only Hawaii made its birth records public, and charged people a thousand dollars a pop to look at them, the state’s budget problems would be solved by the conspiracy theorists” but that it “doesn’t”. Collins further quotes Trump as saying on Today that he had seen Obama’s certificate of live birth and it was “not even signed by anybody”.
“I read it very carefully. It doesn’t have a serial number. It doesn’t have a signature,” said on Today. She however disputed Trump’s claim, saying the document had the stamped signature of the state registrar, that even the University of Pennsylvania’s FactCheck.org “made a pilgrimage to the Obama campaign headquarters, examined the document, felt the seal, checked the serial number and reported that it looked fine”.
Trump is quoted as saying “our current president [Obama] came out of nowhere. Came out of nowhere” when he told the Conservative Political Action Conference. Trump is quoted as saying: “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. It’s crazy.”
According to Collins, on CNN, Suzanne Malveaux played Trump clips of Hawaiians reminiscing about the schoolchild Obama for a documentary the network had done on the president. Trump is then heard as saying “Look, I didn’t say that … If he was 3 years old or 2 years old or 1 year old and people remember him, that’s irrelevant,” Trump responded. “You have to be born in this country.”
The term ‘birther’ used by Collins in her column is “very derogatory and is meant in a derogatory way”, says Trump. “Open your eyes, Gail”, trump tells Collins, before adding that “there’s at least a good chance that Barack Hussein Obama has made mincemeat out of our great and cherished Constitution!”
She quoted Trump as saying Bill Ayers wrote Obama’s Dreams From My Father. “I have no doubt about it,” Trump is quoted as telling Joe Scarborough of Politico.com. “That first book was total genius and helped get him elected” said Trump. “But you can tell Obama did the second book himself because it read like it was written by somebody of average intelligence with a high school education”.