IS IT ENOUGH TO QUALIFY AS “NATURAL BORN?”
by Sharon Rondeau, h/t Robert Laity
(Sep. 16, 2016) — [Editor’s Note: The following letter was sent to Republican presidential nominee and businessman Donald Trump in response to Trump’s declaration at the end of a Friday campaign event that “President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period.”
For weeks, Democrat presidential nominee and the mainstream media had goaded Trump about his questioning of Obama’s origins in 2011 when he demanded that the White House release Obama’s “long-form,” or more detailed, birth certificate than the Certification of Live Birth posted on several websites in June 2008.
Doubts about Obama’s birthplace persisted after an image purported to be a scan of a certified copy of Obama’s original birth certificate from Hawaii was declared a forgery by several graphics experts and later, by a team of criminal investigators in Maricopa County, AZ.
Article II, Section 1, clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution requires the nation’s chief executive to be a “natural born Citizen.” Because the term was not precisely defined in the Constitution or any other founding documents, there have been disagreements over time as to its exact meaning.
In 2007 and 2008, as rumors persisted that Obama was born in Kenya or Indonesia based on newspaper articles and other anecdotal evidence, the question of his constitutional eligibility initiated a number of lawsuits, some of which went to the U.S. Supreme Court. In each case, the high court refused to render an opinion as to whether or not Obama did, in fact, qualify as a “natural born Citizen.”
While some scholars and average Americans believe that a birth in the United States is sufficient for “natural born” status, others believe that a presidential candidate must have been born in the US to parents who were citizens of the country at the time of the birth to preclude any foreign allegiances.
Major media has generally conflated the terms “natural born Citizen” and “U.S. citizen” or simply “citizen,” without presenting the historical context in which the natural born Citizen clause was included in the Constitution by the Framers.
Boards of election in several states have refused to conduct any discovery into whether or not Obama was actually born in the United States. In 2008, however, the New Hampshire Ballot Law Commission disqualified Sal Mohamed, who was known to have been born in Egypt.
On Wednesday, the Trump campaign stated that Trump now believes that Obama was born in the United States. On Thursday, major media demanded that Trump himself make the declaration, which he held back at the time but released on his website Thursday night and following a campaign appearance at his new hotel in Washington, DC late Friday morning.
The media has largely ignored the conclusions reached by the Maricopa County Cold Case Posse, announced at two formal press conferences in 2012, that the long-form birth certificate published at whitehouse.gov and Obama’s alleged Selective Service registration form are fraudulent.
Since the inception of its investigation five years ago, the posse has not focused on where Obama was born, but rather, why a forgery was uploaded to the White House website and by whom.
Because Trump openly questioned Obama’s eligibility early in 2011 when Trump was considering his own run for the White House, he is considered by the media to be the “leader” of the “birther” movement. However, in the statement released on his website Thursday night, Trump attributed the origins of the rumors surrounding Obama’s alleged foreign birth to the 2008 Hillary Clinton campaign in which she faced Obama as a primary opponent.
Obama claims a father born in Kenya as a British citizen who reportedly attended and graduated from the University of Hawaii in the early 1960s. The elder Obama is reported to have traveled to the United States on a British passport in 1959 and to have attended Harvard University for his Master’s Degree. Documents released by the US State Department shows that in 1964, Obama Sr. was essentially expelled from the country for inappropriate behavior with his student visa non-renewed.
On Friday, ABC News described Obama as “native-born.” In August 2014, NBC White House reporter Chris Jansing stated that Obama was born in Kenya before issuing a hasty “correction” that it was Obama’s father who was born there.
NPR and Obama’s first literary agent, Acton & Dystel, had also initially reported him as born in Kenya before altering their accounts to say that he was born in Hawaii. On Thursday, NPR wrote, “Donald Trump refused to say whether he believes President Obama was born in the United States in an interview with The Washington Post on Thursday.”
No hospital there has claimed to have been the place of his birth, although Obama claims that he was born at what is now the Kapiolani Medical Center in Honolulu.
Later on Friday, The Daily Caller reported that a former McClatchy Washington Bureau chief revealed that close Clinton friend Sidney Blumenthal had told him in 2008 that Obama was born in Kenya and asked him to investigate.
In Laity’s letter to Trump on Friday, he stated that he was “very concerned” about Trump’s public statement that he believes that Obama was “born in the United States.”
In the second paragraph, Laity wrote, “Mere birth in the United States is not sufficient in order to be President. To be President, one must be a “Natural Born Citizen of the United States is [sic] found in Article II, Sec. 1 of the US Constitution. The definition of what a “Natural Born Citizen” is, is found in the Law of Nations,” in a reference to the 18th-century work of Swiss philosopher and statesman Emerich de Vattel, upon whose work the Framers are thought to have relied heavily.
Laity and others have challenged not only the eligibility of Obama, but also Sen. John McCain, who was born in Panama to US-citizen parent; former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who was born in Louisiana to non–citizen parents; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, whose birth circumstances mirror those of Jindal although with a birth in Florida; and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and declared himself a presidential candidate in March of last year.
Laity’s letter to Trump follows.