Donald Trump has challenged President Barack Obama to release his college records and passport application – and has promised to donate $5 million to a charity of the President’s choice if he does so.
Donald Trump made his offer in a YouTube video released at noon today, two days after promising to make a “gigantic” announcement about Barack Obama which could change the course of the presidential race.
The tycoon previously denied staging a publicity stunt, insisting the announcement is “not a media event”, but instead is “about the United States of America”.
A number of sensational claims about the content of the message had been swirling around the web for three days – one pundit with links to the billionaire even suggested that he was set to unearth divorce papers between Barack Obama and his wife Michelle.
However, the man himself tweeted: “All predictions re: my 12 o’clock release are totally incorrect. Stay tuned!” – and some may be disappointed by the relatively tame nature of the announcement.
Donald Trump set the hare running on Monday by claiming that he was set to make an announcement today that would be “bordering on gigantic” and that it would “possibly” change the presidential race.
But when the announcement finally came, in the form of a YouTube video and accompanying Facebook post, it was somewhat less explosive than promised.
Donald Trump started the announcement by saying: “President Obama is the least transparent President in the history of this country.”
He added: “I’m very honored to have gotten him to release his long-form birth certificate… or whatever it may be.”
The meat of the message ran: “If Barack Obama opens up and gives his college records and applications, and if he gives his passport applications and records, I will give to a charity of his choice – inner-city kids in Chicago, American Cancer Society, AIDS research, anything he wants – a cheque, immediately, for $5 million.”
Donald Trump went on to say that the records had to be released by 5:00 p.m. on October 31, and that his donation would be given within an hour of Barack Obama releasing the records “to my satisfaction, if it’s complete”.
The video concluded: “Mr. President, not only will I be happy – and, by the way, totally satisfied – but the American people will be happy, and those charities will be very, very happy.”
There are a number of conspiracy theories surrounding Barack Obama’s records from his time at Occidental College, Yale University and Harvard Law School.
Most common is the assertion that the future President’s grades were weak, which would undermine his intellectual reputation, but some go further and argue that he might have taken “anti-American” courses or even have attended college as a foreign exchange student.
Donald Trump’s appeal for passport records, meanwhile, appears to be linked to the “birther” conspiracy theory which holds that Barack Obama was not born in the U.S. and in which the businessman has been a leading voice.
The White House has not yet responded to Donald Trump’s offer, and is unlikely to do so.
On Tuesday, Donald Trump defended himself against claims that he was focused more on self-publicizing than serving the American people, as he tweeted: “This is not a media event or about Donald J. Trump – this is about the United States of America.”
The billionaire followed that up with a quotation from Chinese author Sun Tzu reading: “Invincibility lies in the defence; the possibility of victory in the attack.”
Donald Trump told Fox & Friends on Monday that he had “something very, very big concerning the President of the United States”.
“It’s going to be very big. I know one thing – you will cover it in a very big fashion.”
Donald Trump declined to elaborate, but yesterday an investor who appears on the same business talk show as him claimed to have more details.
Douglas Kass, a Florida-based investor who appears on CNBC’s talkshow Squawkbox where Donald Trump is often a commentator, tweeted to his 48,000 followers: “High above the Alps my Gnome has heard that Donald Trump will announce that he has unearthed divorce papers between the Prez and his wife.”
The claims about divorce papers have previously been made in a book released earlier this year by author Ed Klein. The White House rubbished the allegations then and claimed Ed Klein had a history of making things up.