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Trump doubles down on 'birther' beliefs prior to Romney fundraiser

May 29, 2012|By Morgan Little
  • "I don't consider myself birther or not birther, but there are some major questions here that the press doesn't want to cover," Donald Trump said.
"I don't consider myself birther or not birther, but there are… (Jeff J. Mitchell / Getty…)

Donald Trump, brought back into the Mitt Romney political fold for a Las Vegas fundraiser, refused to back down Tuesday on his belief that President Obama wasn’t born in the United States.

Trump, who has been a persistent advocate for the "birther" cause, said in an interview with CNBC that "nothing's changed my mind," even after Obama released his long-form birth certificate last year.

"And by the way, you know, you have a huge group of people. I walk down the street and people are screaming, 'Please don't give that up.' Look, a publisher came out last week and had a statement about Obama given by them to Obama when he was doing a book as a young man a number of years ago in the '90s: 'Born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia,'" Trump said.

"I don't consider myself birther or not birther, but there are some major questions here that the press doesn't want to cover," Trump later added. "Now, if that were somebody else they'd be covering it and they'd be throwing people out of office, but they don't want to cover it."

Trump's comments came in the wake of an apology from Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett -- the co-chairman of Romney's campaign in the state -- for breathing new life into birther conspiracy theories when he requested verification from the state of Hawaii that Obama had, in fact, been born there.

Hawaii provided the necessary documents, and Bennett backed down on claims that it was "possible" that Obama wouldn’t make the ballot in Arizona.

Romney has been consistent in welcoming Trump's endorsement, even if he does not support everything the real estate mogul and reality-TV star says.

"I don't agree with all the people who support me, and my guess is they don't all agree with everything I believe in," Romney said Monday. "But I need to get 50.1% or more and I'm appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people."

The Romney campaign's hope is that Trump's help comes along with a glut of campaign contributions. In addition to Tuesday's Las Vegas fundraiser, Trump is also featured in the Romney campaign's "Dine with the Donald" promotion, in which supporters can win a chance to stay at Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York City and have a dinner with Trump and Romney, all for a donation.

Trump also has recently sparked speculation that he may participate in forming a "super PAC" for Republican causes, and as speculation continues about who Romney will choose as a running mate, Trump has highlighted himself as a possible vice presidential contender.

The Obama campaign has been swift to tie Romney and Trump closer together, releasing a video Tuesday that criticizes Romney for not rebuking Trump for his public statements on Obama's citizenship.

The video, "Two Republican Nominees," contrasts Sen. John McCain, who "stood up to the voices of extremism in his party," with Romney, who the campaign alleges is unable to do the same.

morgan.little@latimes.com

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