Trump Meets with Birther Lawmaker as 2012 Republican Hopeful Gains Ground

Today Donald Trump met with Arizona State Representative Carl Steel, a backer of HB2177, which is bill that would require presidential candidates to provide a certified birth certificate in order to appear on a ballot.  Though Trump is no newcomer to the spotlight, he is attracting significant national attention surrounding his potential 2012 presidential bid and his public skepticism of President Obama’s natural-born citizenship.   Following some success in recent polls, Trump has emerged as a legitimate contender for the Republican Party nomination.  In both a recent Wall Street Journal poll and a similar one conducted by Fox News, Trump is trailing frontrunner former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney by just four points.  Additionally, Trump spoke this week with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, covering details of the process of becoming a candidate.  Trump expects to decide whether to pursue his candidacy by this June. 

Today’s meeting with Arizona Rep. Carl Steel follows earlier comments by Trump regarding President Obama’s citizenship.  Last month, the presidential hopeful publicly questioned the validity or even existence of Obama’s birth certificate, a document that proves natural-born American citizenship and eligibility to serve as President.  In a Fox New interview, Trump said, “People have birth certificates.  [Obama] doesn’t have a birth certificate.  He may have one but there’s something on that, maybe religion, maybe it says he is a Muslim… or he may not have one.”  While Trump has since declared that he is not a birther—a common term for people believing in a conspiracy surrounding President Obama’s place of birth—Trump’s recent meeting does raise some questions about his views on this topic and his priorities in general.  If Donald Trump hopes to run for president with the nation’s best interest in mind, he should focus on the challenges facing our nation rather than such counterproductive and unfounded claims.