Donald Trump, whose popularity as a possible Republican presidential contender shot up after he started questioning the whereabouts of President Obama's birth certificate, said Wednesday he is "so proud" the president has finally released the forms.
"I am so proud of myself because I've accomplished something that nobody else has been able to accomplish," Trump said from Portsmouth, N.H., where he was giving early primary voters a close-up look at a potential presidential campaign.
"I feel I've accomplished something really, really important and I'm honored for it," Trump said.
The billionaire real estate mogul and host of "Celebrity Apprentice" brought the issue of the president's birth certificate to the forefront after years of complaints from a small segment of society, come to be known as "birthers," who said it is not satisfied with the short-form version of the president's certificate provided during the 2008 presidential campaign.
Trump, who suggested he may run as a Republican challenger to the president, fed the story as reporters repeatedly asked about his interest in the certificate. Polls showed that Trump was capturing people's imaginations as his position in Republican presidential candidate polls rose. At the same time, more and more Americans surveyed said they questioned the president's birthplace.
A Gallup/USA Today poll released Tuesday found that only 38 percent of Americans said they believe Obama was definitely born in the United States while 18 percent said he probably was and 15 percent said he probably was born in another country. Nine percent said he definitely was born elsewhere. The same poll showed only 43 percent believed Trump was born in the United States and 20 percent said he probably was.
Trump, who released his birth certificate last month, said the issue was very relevant, especially since so many other topics are being clouded by the distraction.
"I hope it checks out beautifully. ... Now we can talk about oil, gasoline prices. We can talk about China ripping off this country. We can talk about OPEC doing numbers on us," he said.
Trump's position is similar to the White House's reasoning when it surprised reporters Wednesday morning with copies of the two-page, long-form certification of live birth issued by the state of Hawaii. It shows the president was born Aug. 4, 1961, at Kapiolani Hospital in Honolulu to father Barack Hussein Obama and mother Stanley Ann Dunham.
Speaking Wednesday, Obama said he decided to release the certificate because he wanted to put to rest the gossip, which has sidetracked major issues like the economy.
"We do not have time for this kind of silliness. I've got better stuff to do," said Obama.
Trump said that he hopes the certificate is real and true "because we have very big problems in this country." He added that the president should have released the document sooner.
"It is rather amazing that all of a sudden it materializes, but I hope it's the right deal, for sure,
experts will look at it, and I am really happy and I'm really proud that I was able to bring this to a point nobody else was," Trump said.
Despite his pride, Trump said he isn't done asking questions, though they perhaps are of lesser consequence than Obama's eligibility to be president.
"I'd like to know how does he get into Harvard, how does he get into Columbia if he isn't a very good student," Trump said, asking why the president doesn't release his college records from Occidental College.
"If he wants to release it that's fine, if he doesn't want to release it that's fine too. But the word is he wasn't a very good student," Trump added.