The Skeptical Teacher

Musings of a science teacher & skeptic in an age of woo.

Donald Trump & Birtherism: How to Argue with Birthers?

Posted by mattusmaximus on April 12, 2011

Lately, billionaire & bad-hair aficionado Donald Trump has been getting a lot of press by going around the talk show circuit and making references to the supposedly “questionable status” of President Obama’s U.S. citizenship.  In case you didn’t know, there is a name for this particular brand of reality-denying conspiracy mongering: birtherism. (And, just for the record in case you didn’t know, President Obama is a natural born U.S. citizen😉 )

And, yes, it seems that – for whatever reason – Donald Trump has jumped aboard the birther crazy train.  I don’t know if this is for him to gain traction among the hardcore conservative base of the Republican party (a whopping 51% of whom believe President Obama wasn’t born in the United States!) before announcing a bid for the presidency or if it could all just be a publicity stunt in order to get Trump more face-time with the media (and therefore, more money).  Whatever the reason, one thing is clear: the media has swallowed Trump’s line of codswallop hook, line, and sinker.

And there’s the rub, folks.  By the mere fact that the media is giving all of this attention to Trump in the first place, in a sick sort of way it gives him (and, by extension, his nutty “birther” claims) a kind of validity.  The best thing the media could do is to simply ignore this kind of nonsense; there should be no “fair & balanced” reporting on this issue, because those who continue to peddle this stupid conspiracy theory are dead, flat wrong.  To steal a phrase from Christopher Hitchens, Trump and his birther buddies are not the kind of people that should be taken seriously at all; in fact, they’re the kind of people who should be spouting their lunacy out on the streets while they sell pencils from a tin cup!

So the best thing the media could do, if they were interested in covering real news stories instead of sensationalistic garbage, is to tell Trump to take a hike.

Now, if you are confronted by a birther and there is no way to avoid the conversation with them, how should you engage them?  I have one piece of advice on this, and – thus far – it has never failed me.  Tell them that in order for them to have a valid opinion on the issue of President Obama’s citizenship, they must first prove, using their own standards of evidence, their own status as a natural born U.S. citizen.  In short, they must provide to you the following:

1.  Their original birth certificate.
2. A newspaper clipping that highlights their birth.
3. Records proving that their mother was present in America at the time of birth.
4. Investigations from multiple fact-checking organizations that have held the documents with their own hands to verify that the documents from #1-3 exist and are authentic.
5. A press release by at least two officials within the state of birth, verifying that these records are on file.

After the birther has provided said evidence, which seems to sum up the current standard of evidence which they demand that President Obama provide, then tell them they can go on and spin their claims all they want.

Every time I have confronted a birther with this line of argumentation, the result is universally the same: they either ignore the challenge, get angry about you questioning their “patriotism”, or they scuttle away to hide under the nearest rock.  And if they get offended and/or try to run away or change the subject, hit them with this one: “Why won’t you provide this evidence?  What are you hiding?!!” (cue spooky music🙂 )

Try it sometime.  You’ll find the results very revealing somewhat entertaining, too.  Perhaps the next time Donald Trump is on television, the next media personality to interview him will have some real balls and ask him to put up or shut up.

6 Responses to “Donald Trump & Birtherism: How to Argue with Birthers?”

  1. DataJack said

    Is that really all the GOP has? Birther issues? Trump can’t think of any policy issues to challenge?

  2. Montana said

    Trump loves “rattling the Birthers cages”, too funny.

    The GOP is like the “Chicken Littles” always saying that the “Sky is Falling”, like the same ones that were the “Chicken Hawks” (“W” Wars), big talk no courage. The United States, favors creativity wherever it can be found. We’re apostles of prosperity and defenders of the free exchange of ideas and when more people in more countries are free to rise, to invent, to communicate, to dissent, it’s not the doom of United States leadership, its the triumph of the American way.
    Generations have worked hard and sacrificed much for the country to reach this point (individuals and our unions!), and with further hard work and sacrifice (along with our relentless self-doubt) the United States will rise again, we do not tire and we are coming back, no matter what the “Chicken Littles” keep saying about our nation. Never Bet Against the United States!
    Our current President travelled under a USA passport long before he was elected President, but I guess the quacky BIRTHERS, must believe that the USCIS – United States Passport was in on the lie, please, grow up, you are wrong! Remember when some contractors were busted during the “George W. Bush” administration for looking at our current President passport file (how quick you forget).
    http://swampland.blogs.time.com/2008/03/20/obamas_passport_files_hacked/

    The Birthers just HATE and can’t debate!
    Have any of the quacky BIRTHERS presented any credible proof that will standup in court? Answer: No
    Have any of the quacky BIRTHERS won any Court Cases? Answer: No
    They are just mainly backward, uneducated, white people who HATE our half black President.

    The majority of the voting public ask “where the proof”, show some proof BIRTHERS or the voting majority will continue to see you as dumb, stupid or racist, maybe all three. Can you blame them?

    Still, I really hope one of these retreads and blowhards runs for president, not because they have a chance of winning but because I like to see the train wreck that they will cause.

    Faux News Candidates:
    former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin ”The I graduated Early”,
    former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga. “The I Love The Interns”,
    former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee “The Huckster Reverend”,
    former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa. “The I Love the Gays”,
    former UN Ambassador John Bolton “The I Love The War ”

    I Finance Myself:
    real estate celebrity developer, Donald Trump, “I took my Casino into Bankruptcy, just imagine where I can Take the US”
    former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney “The Flip-Flopping Fudger”,
    former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush “The I Am Not My “Dumb Ass” Brother”,

    Employed Long Shots:
    Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. “The History, I Don’t Need No Stink’n History”,
    Mississippi Gov./ former tobacco lobbyist, Haley Barbour “The last White Hope”

  3. In response to Trump’s birther accusations. The “birther bone” has been chewed on to the point there is no meat left on that bone and all Republicans who are serious about their presidential aspirations have moved on – this joker should do the same. It seems that most conservatives have a short and misguided memory and Trump is no exception. His tirade of comments regarding his criticizm of President Obama and the current situations involving Libya, our economy, gas prices, etc. have no basis – he’s done as he’s always done – blabber! From 2003 through the end of George Bush’s Presidency this country was involved in two wars, there was no regulation of the financial industry which ultimately resulted in a total meltdown during the last several years of his administration further resulting in the loss of at least 40% of the value of 401k plans affecting tens of millions – yes, I’m one. Trump forgets that in May 2008 (just a few short 3 years ago (there’s that short term memory thing I mentioned earlier) gas prices were $4/gallon (diesel was ~ $5/gallon) and let me remind him – President Obama was not sitting in the White House during this 8 year debacle – George W. Bush was and he’s the reason we’re still trying to dig ourselves out of a hole. Oh, yes, lest Trump’s memory cause him to forget – because of GWB’s decision to enter into Iraq we lost almost 5,000 of our brothers, daughters, fathers, husbands, sisters, sons and wives – and can any of you George Bush fans tell me why this country suffered these losses? In closing, anyone can be a critic but in my lifetime, and to my knowledge, criticizm has never accomplished anything – actions do. Therefore, whether it be Donald Trump or any other Republican who chooses to run for the office of President – give those who wish to vote for you solid reasons for doing so by focusing on the issues and providing logical approaches to correcting them. Come on Trump, what have you got beyond “I don’t believe Obama was born in this country?” If you think that statement is going to get you into the Oval Office then you are as dilusional as I think you are. If that’s your plan you might as well spend your time on the golf course. You’ll note I didn’t say improving your game – first you have to have one!

  4. To the person who mentioned about the Tea Party agenda, as if everybody agreed it was a threat, please consider this viewpoint. And about 10 more from different angles.

  5. Thanks to the Rush Limbaugh wannabees this viewpoint is occasionally taken at face value.

  6. […] of calling the bluff of the conspiracy-mongering, reality-challenged, walking hairpiece that is Donald Trump (along with all of his “birther” buddies), President Obama produced his long-form birth […]

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