Donald Trump made two statements on CNBC today, both of which are false.
The first statement was, "I've been known as a very smart guy..."
The second statement was that "If you're not born in this country, you're not allowed to be president."
In the first case, there's no direct evidence that Trump is known as a very smart guy. Rich? Definitely. Clever? Obviously. Lucky? Certainly.
Smart? No one who makes the same false statements over and over again can possibly claim to be smart.
In the second case, however, there is irrefutable evidence that Trump is 100% wrong, thus proving that his first statement is also false because you can be President of the United States without being born in the United States.
The Code of Laws of the United States of America - or simply the United States Code or U.S.C. - consists of all the laws of the United States. Last revised in 2006, the US Code now fills more than 200,000 pages of text...and these are the FEDER AL laws that govern every aspect of life in the United States.
No one, of course, has ever read the entire document, nor is it possible to read the entire document because it is revised every six years, with annual updates in the intervening years, so that the next edition would be ready before you could finish reading the previous one. ...but you don't have to read the whole thing in order to know that you can be president even if you are not born in the United States....as long as at least one of your parents was born in the United States.
Article 11 Section 1 of the Constitution of the United States stipulates that:
"No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States."
This raises the question of what it means to be a "natural born citizen?"
Article 1, Section 8 Clause 4 of the Constitution gives Congress the right to create laws defining naturalization and citizenship.
Congress did this with laws that are summarized under Title 8 Section 1401 Paragraph G of the U.S. Code, which definitively states:
"The following shall be nationals and citizens of the United States at birth....
(g) a person born outside the geographical limits of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents one of whom is an alien, and the other a citizen of the United States who, prior to the birth of such person, was physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions for a period or periods totaling not less than five years, at least two of which were after attaining the age of fourteen years..."
Referring to Barak Obama's personal history, there is no doubt that Obama's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham ,was an American citizen. There's also no doubt that she spent the first five years of her life in Wichita, Kansas, which clearly demonstrates that her children are, by definition "citizens of the United States at birth...." and therefore entitle to serve as president of the United States.
Nevertheless, every few weeks, someone revives the "Birther" controversy and, each time it's revived, it reinforces the prejudices of the convinced and encourages more people to become convinced that there must be something to the story....which is a classic example of the Big Lie in action: If you repeat a lie often enough, sooner or later, the people will begin to believe it.
And lest you believe that it really doesn't matter, remember that this is precisely how Adolph Hitler lied his way to power, by repeating obvious untruths over and over again.
The underlying story is that no one in the Obama administration has ever stood up and said, "Hey, read the U.S. Code. Obama is legally a citizen of the United States."
The reason they won't do this is that they are afraid that resorting to what might seem to be a legalism could convince even more people that there's some truth to the rumor that Obama wasn't born in the United States.
And, if they were ever able to prove that point, they could hound Obama out of office - or deny him re-election - on the grounds that he lied about his birth to the American people.
The real question is why won't anyone in the media stand up to the Birthers and say the same thing.
Instead of putting the question to rest by quoting the law, which is incontrovertible, they cite previously released documentation that appears to prove the point that Obama was born in Hawaii.
Because the Birther story is magnetic. It attracts viewers. It attracts readers. It generates sales.
So, please, every time you see or hear anyone raising questions about Obama's citizenship, refer them to this article and tell them to shut up.
It's only by repeating the truth that we can drown out the lies.