Real estate baron Donald Trump, who has yet to officially announce his candidacy for US president, has become tethered to President Obama's birth certificate question and has found success with the topic.
Donald Trump's poll figures have risen and fallen over the past week, after a Wall Street Journal presidential contender poll shocked many in placing Trump in the Republican Party's number two slot after Mitt Romney. However, Mr. Trump's success appeared to be in correlation with the ongoing issue of President Obama's refusal to produce an official birth certificate.
“Why doesn’t he show his birth certificate? The fact is, if he wasn’t born in this country, he shouldn’t be the president of the United States,” Trump said in a CNN interview on Sunday, according to the Washington Times.
While the Obama administration has produced a document that indicates Obama's birth in Hawaii, it is not an officially recognized birth certificate that average Americans are asked to produce for secondary documents like driver's licenses and passports.
The US Constitution requires that an American president must be a naturally born citizen.
Senior White House advisor David Plouffe sought to downplay Mr. Trump's overall presidential legitimacy, the Wall Street Journal reported. Speaking on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday, Plouffe said: “I think I saw Donald Trump’s (poll numbers) kind of rising and some falls. And given his behavior and spectacle over the last couple of weeks, I hope he keeps on rising, because…there is zero chance that Donald Trump would ever be hired by the American people to do this job.”
“That’s not leadership, that’s kind of a sideshow behavior,” Plouffe said of Trump's position on President Obama's birth certificate.
But Trump does not see the question as a sideshow spectacle, nor does he agree with the "birther" label.
“It’s a very sad thing, because the people - the birthers - they got labeled and they got labeled so negatively and even the word ‘birther’ is a negative word. If you come out and … even question, the press goes wild. They get angry at the question,” he said, according to the Washington Times.
It is a singular issue that Donald Trump appears eager to pursue.
"Far from backing away, Mr. Trump seems to be embracing the birther controversy and relishing the confrontations with reporters," David Eldridge reported for the Washington Times. "He has responded in print to critics and blitzed talk radio, morning shows and news programs to talk about birth certificates. Mr. Trump also has said he had sent private detectives to Hawaii to investigate the president’s birth."