President Barack Obama Hits Back At Donald Trump After Billionaire's 'Gigantic' Announcement Backfired
President Obama offered a clever retort to Donald Trump after the real estate mogul offered to donate $5million to the charity of his choosing if he released college records and passport application.
Speaking on The Tonight Show, Obama told Jay Leno that the rivalry between began in their childhood. ‘This all dates back to when we were growing up in Kenya,' he joked. 'We had constant run-ins on the soccer field, he wasn’t very good.’
The president was referring to The Donald's highly publicised demands that the president present his birth certificate to prove that he was born in the U.S., and therefore eligible for the presidency.
Challenge: Donald Trump has demanded that Barack Obama release his college records and passport application
Meanwhile, the billionaire's long-awaited 'major announcement' about Obama was labelled as something of a disappointment over what was promised.
Trump made his offer in a YouTube video released at noon today, two days after promising to make a 'gigantic' announcement about Obama which could change the course of the presidential race.
Web users reacted to the massive letdown with derision, with many taking to Twitter to mock the controversial businessman.
The Apprentice star previously denied staging a publicity stunt, insisting the announcement is 'not a media event', but instead is 'about the United States of America'.
Repeat guest: This was Mr Obama's fifth time on The Tonight Show; the president is in the middle of a campaign blitz
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 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.
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.
Watch the announcement here
'Gigantic': Author and investor Douglas Kass (left) claimed that Donald Trump (right) has 'unearthed divorce papers' between the President and his wife
Defence: Trump took to Twitter to claim that his announcement was public-spirited, not self-serving
Trump started the announcement by saying, 'President Obama is the least transparent President in the history of this country', adding: 'I'm very honoured 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, immmediately, for $5million.'
Trump went on to say that the records had to be released by 5pm on October 31, and that his donation would be given within an hour of 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.'
Offer: Obama will be allowed to choose the destination of the $5million if he publishes his records
There are a number of conspiracy theories surrounding 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.
Trump's appeal for passport records, meanwhile, appears to be linked to the 'birther' conspiracy theory which holds that 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 Trump's offer, and is unlikely to do so.
Despite the damp squib of the video, the tycoon claimed he was pleased with the reception of his video, tweeting: 'The response has been fantastic - actually overwhelming! Thank you!'
Friends and enemies: Trump and Obama are very public enemies but the billionaire mogul has endorsed Republican challenger Mitt Romney
REVENGE OF THE BIRTHERS: WHY TRUMP WANTS COLLEGE RECORDS
While less well-known than the 'birther' conspiracy theory, the debate over Obama's college records is no less fierce in some hard-core conservative circles.
The President has never released his academic transcripts or college application forms, prompting some opponents of Obama to claim that there has been a cover-up.
One suggestion is that, despite attending Columbia and Harvard Law School, where he later taught, the young Obama was actually a poor student and is now trying to hide that fact.
Another is that the records will show he took 'anti-American' courses on topics such as colonial history and radical activism.
The most extreme conspiracy theorists have even suggested that Obama attended college in the U.S. as a foreign exchange student, making it easier to gain admission and possibly hinting that the future President did not consider himself an American during his adolescence.
No firm evidence has ever been offered for any of these theories.
Political commentators mocked the over-hyped announcement, with comic Andy Borowitz tweeting, 'Attention parents: if you give your children even the tiniest bit of attention now, maybe they won't grow up to be Donald Trump.'
Joseph Wiesenthal of Business Insider joked, 'Today’s Gallup poll will be completely useless, since it will have been entirely conducted before the Trump offer.'
Observers on the right were no less caustic, as Jim Geraghty of the conservative National Review wrote: 'If at any point you seriously considered Donald Trump for president, please study the error of your ways in quiet, private contemplation.'
The Washington Post's Chris Cilizza was more succinct, writing, 'Me to Donald Trump: Go away. Please.'
On Tuesday Trump defended himself against claims that he was focussed more on self-publicising 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.'
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’.
He 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 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 Klein had a history of making things up.
Backing: Donald Trump is a supporter of Mitt Romney, seen here with the Reno Mountains in the background as he arrives at Reno-Tahoe International Airport in Reno, Nevada, yesterday before traveling to a campaign rally
Look to the future: Mitt Romney holds a child as he greets supporters at an election campaign rally at the Reno Event Center yesterday
Playing to the crowd: Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney waves at the conclusion of a campaign rally in Reno, Nevada, yesterday
Trump also has a questionable record when it comes to his own allegations, most notably being a leading ‘birther’, so-called because he believes Obama was born in Kenya and not Hawaii, thus disqualifying him from being President of the United States.
The host of The Apprentice even claimed to have sent investigators to Hawaii in his failed attempt to prove the theory.
Despite the support of the Tea Party the issue went away when the President released the long form of his birth certificate last year.
The President also spent a portion of his speech at the White House Correspondent's Dinner in April 2011 taking jabs at Trump.
He said: 'Now, I know that he’s taken some flak lately, but no one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than the Donald.
'And that’s because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter - like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?'
The two men have however remained very public enemies. Obama has branded Trump a ‘carnival barker’ and Trump in reply refers to the incumbent as ‘the worst president ever’ and even threatened to run against him.
He toured New Hampshire and said very clearly that he was seriously contemplating a shot at the presidency. Later he became something of a political touchstone for the various Republican candidates and eventually endorsed Mitt Romney.
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