Hawaii official denounces ‘ludicrous’ birther claims
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The Hawaiian state health official who personally reviewed Barack Obama’s original birth certificate has affirmed again that the document is “real” and denounced “conspiracy theorists” in the so-called “birther” movement for continuing to spread bogus claims about the issue.
“It’s kind of ludicrous at this point,” Dr. Chiyome Fukino, the former director of Hawaii’s Department of Health, said in a rare telephone interview with NBC.
Fukino, sounding both exasperated and amused, spoke to a reporter in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s statements on the NBC Today show last week questioning whether Obama has a legitimate birth certificate.
Trump, who says he is considering a run for president, repeated his claims on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, saying that “nobody has any information” about the president’s birth and that “if he wasn’t born in this country, he shouldn’t be president of the United States.”
No matter what state officials release on the issue, the “birthers” are going to question it, said Fukino. “They’re going to question the ink on which it was written or say it was fabricated,” said Fukino. “The whole thing is silly.”
As the top Hawaiian official in charge of state health records in 2008, when the issue of Obama’s birth first arose, Fukino said she thought she had put the matter to rest. Contacted by NBC, Fukino expanded on previous public statements and made two key points when asked about Trump’s recent comments.
The first is that the original so-called “long form” birth certificate — described by Hawaiian officials as a “record of live birth” — absolutely exists, located in a bound volume in a file cabinet on the first floor of the state Department of Health. Fukimo said she has personally inspected it — twice. The first time was in lateOctober 2008, during the closing days of the presidential campaign, when the communications director for the state’s then Republican governor, Linda Lingle (who appointed Fukino) asked if she could make a public statement in response to claims then circulating on the Internet that Obama was actually born in Kenya.
Before she would do so, Fukino said, she wanted to inspect the files — and did so, taking with her the state official in charge of vital records. She found the original birth record, properly numbered, half typed and half handwritten, and signed by the doctor who delivered Obama, located in the files. She then put out a public statement asserting to the document’s validity. She later put out another public statement in July 2009 — after reviewing the original birth record a second time.
“It is real, and no amount of saying it is not, is going to change that,” Fukino said. Moreover, she added, her boss at the time, Lingle — who was backing John McCain for president — would presumably have to be in on any cover up since Fukino made her public comment at the governor’s office’s request. “Why would a Republican governor — who was stumping for the other guy — hold out on a big secret?” she asked.