Bill Greene / Globe Staff Photo
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. - With his trademark New York bravado, Donald Trump today said "I'm very proud of myself" for supposedly prompting President Obama to release a copy of his birth certificate.
"I am really honored, frankly, to have played such a big role," the New York real estate mogul and television celebrity told reporters just after the White House announced its release.
The decision came amid lingering suggestions from so-called "birthers" that the president is not a legitimate leader because he allegedly was born in his father's native Kenya and not Hawaii, as the certificate endorses.
"I know that there’s going to be a segment of people for which, no matter what we put out, this issue will not be put to rest," the president told reporters during an unscheduled appearance in the White House Briefing Room. "But I’m speaking to the vast majority of the American people, as well as to the press. We do not have time for this kind of silliness. We’ve got better stuff to do."
Trump spokes about the president after he flew a helicopter to New Hampshire for his first visit as a prospective 2012 presidential candidate. He planned a series of stops around the Portsmouth area in an agenda that had spanned the 9 a.m.-to-5 p.m. standard business day.
During a half-hour news conference before he departed in a black stretch limousine, Trump criticized not only Obama and prospective GOP presidential rival Mitt Romney, but he also blasted China, Saudi Arabia, and others in expressing his world views with most undiplomatic language.
He called the US-led no-fly zone over Libya a "total disaster." He said China is "taking over the world" because its leaders "are smarter."
If elected president, Trump said, within one day of his inauguration he would declare to Chinese leaders: "You keep manipulating your currency, we're going to tax you 25 percent."
He also said he would demand Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and other OPEC countries increase their oil exports to reduce US gasoline prices because "they wouldn't even be there" without America's support.
Trump also taunted Romney, who owns a vacation home in New Hampshire, by noting the former Massachusetts governor held only a slight lead over him in one recent state poll.
Despite the policy pronouncements, Trump also kicked up a swirl of innuendo with his remarks.
While the White House announced just before his arrival that it was releasing Obama's birth certificate, Trump said he would have to have experts analyze it before he accepted its authenticity. He said "I hope not" when asked whether he personally believed Obama was an illegitimate president.
In addition, he repeatedly made remarks such as "I hear" and "I read" stories suggesting Obama was a substandard student and didn't deserve to go to the Ivy League's Columbia University and Harvard Law School. He urged the president to release his college transcripts.
Trump's brashness also was front-and-center.
"I think I have the temperament" to be president, he declared at one point. "I think I would make this country rich again."
Trump promised a decision about his own candidacy before June, after the latest season of the NBC-TV program, "Celebrity Apprentice," ends on May 22.
"I think you'll be surprised what my announcement will be," he declared.
On the beat
Columnist Shirley Leung says Boston mayor-elect Martin J. Walsh should focus on middle-class housing. Read more