What were we all thinking these past few completely hilarious weeks as we watched NBC television character Donald Trump become America's most prominent and vigorous birther? It seemed like he was driving the issue with maximum enthusiasm, as though it was the only issue that mattered to him and should matter to anyone, and that he wouldn't rest until the mystery of Obama's birth was settled. Yet it turns out that he never really wanted to talk about this stuff — it was the idiots in the media who kept asking him about it. He wants to talk about China!
Trump is trying to pivot away from the relentless focus on Barack Obama's birth certificate that's come to define him, perhaps heeding Karl Rove's advice. He explains his transition in a brisk new USA Today column:
On any given day, I receive hundreds of requests from television, radio and newspapers to provide comments on various topics. There is not one interview when the "birther" issue is not raised multiple times during the conversation.
I have made my point of view well-known, including the continued request for President Obama to be transparent with the American people and provide his birth certificate for forensic review. Only Obama is in a position to put to rest this long overdue and controversial issue. If there is nothing to hide, come clean.
There are many important and pressing issues that, should I elect to run, I will address - including China, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, the price of fuel, unfair trade, unsustainable debt, the creation of jobs and the rising price of food.
Most Americans would prefer to have a serious conversation about these critical issues, followed by a competent and fearless leader who can advance them. Sadly, the press has en masse chosen to glom onto but one of the myriad issues I have discussed and would tackle as president.
You know how that "press" works: Any reporter can toss out a question into the cool night air about Trump's arbitrary birther views, because it's a funny topic, and Trump just has to sit there and answer them one by one. He has to. Why doesn't the media want to hear this television cartoon character discuss trade relations with China instead?
Trump, in fact, has had plenty of opportunities to discuss his supposed pet subjects, China and OPEC. It's a shame he hasn't used these opportunities to lay out his specific problems with and propose his specific solutions for trade imbalances with China, Chinese currency manipulation, and OPEC's pricing of exported oil. These are his favorite topics, you know? And yet when he gets a chance to mention them in interviews, this is how it goes (almost verbatim):
- On China: China, those Chinese, they're ripping us off! They're screwing us! If I'm president I'll knock some Chinese heads alright.
- On OPEC: OPEC, that OPEC, they're ripping us off! They're screwing us! If I'm president I'll knock some OPEC heads alright.
I mean, that's good enough for my vote. You "fire" those Chinese and OPEC knuckleheads, Trump! Fuck yeah! But perhaps others would like to see him flesh out these policy proposals a bit? Well, no, not really.
[Photo of Trump meeting Snoop Dogg last month via Getty Images]