Political leaders are not always known for having the best moments in speech-making history — yes we know you didn’t have sexual relations with that woman, Mr. Clinton, and yes thank you Dan Quayle for letting us know that space is almost infinite. Nonetheless, it is typically standard that the president should be professional in his speech delivery.
But when President Barack Obama responded to comments by Donald Trump that he was not really born in the U.S., his speech was filled with jokes and sarcasm. Because of the severity and ridiculousness of this issue, I say, good for you, Obama.
Trump has not been shy about his concerns that Obama may be hiding something by not publicly displaying proof of his birth certificate, as he has voiced his worries in public speeches and on “The View.” Finally the state of Hawaii released Obama’s long form birth certificate to put the rumors to rest, but not without delivering an entertaining speech criticizing Trump at the Correspondents’ Dinner.
“No one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than ‘The Donald,’” Obama said. “That’s because he can finally get back to focusing on issues that matter. Like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?”
He also made jokes about the pressures Trump faces when making decisions regarding such frivolous topics as who to fire from the failure of a steak cook-off challenge featured on Trump’s reality show “Celebrity Apprentice.”
Instead of laughing it off, Trump, a potential 2012 presidential candidate for the Republican Party, sat stone-faced while the crowd laughed and clapped enthusiastically.
It may seem unprofessional for the president to say such comments at a formal ceremony, but it was also undermining for Trump to publicly question Obama’s birth certificate. On “The View,” Whoopie Goldberg commented on how the only reason this concern was brought up is because of Obama’s race and that white presidents never needed to show proof of a birth certificate before, which is true. Because Obama was born in Hawaii—one of the most remote and disconnected states in terms of geography—and spent a few years in his father’s native Kenya, the Birther movement gained momentum.
Trump did say publicly after Hawaii released Obama’s proof of birth that he was glad that the issue was dispelled so Obama can focus on more important issues.
At least he is not trying to say that he thought the release was a conspiracy or fraud or something of that nature.
I give props to Obama for making light of a serious and disrespectful situation. It is true that other presidents have not had to submit proof of their birth. In difficult times like these with war and the economy, people should be focusing on more important issues rather than questioning his origin. Obama was most offended because the press was more concerned with the rumors of his birth certificate than they were with commenting on his newly formulated budget.
But that is just like the press to play up issues involving gossip.
“We are not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted,” Obama said. “We don’t have time for this silliness. We’ve got big problems to solve and I’m confident we can solve them but we’re going to have to focus on them. Not on this.”