Donald Trump may not spend as much time talking about President Obama’s birth certificate now that he’s the Republican presidential frontrunner, but that doesn’t meant that he’s given up his birther sympathies.
The far-right outlet WorldNetDaily reported over the weekend that Trump and his fellow GOP candidate Mike Huckabee are both confirmed to speak at the Western Center for Journalism’s Western Conservative Conference in Scottsdale in March, at which Rush Limbaugh will present Joseph Farah, the founder of the Western Center and of WND, with the center’s “Hero of Freedom Award.” An invitation says that Trump will deliver the keynote address at the event, which is being co-chaired by Arizona Republican Reps. Matt Salmon and Paul Gosar and will also feature Rep. Trent Franks.
Farah, along with WND “reporter” Jerome Corsi, has been one of the most enthusiastic pushers of the birther myth, writing as recently as this month that Trump was right to call Obama’s birth certificate a “fake” and wondering if the promise of a payout late in life might prompt Obama to finally reveal the truth behind his “eligibility scam.”
Back in 2011, Farah credited Trump with raising the profile of Corsi’s book, “Where’s the Birth Certificate?” (published by WND), which debuted on the best seller list shortly after President Obama publicly released a copy of his birth certificate. Even after Obama made the certificate public, Farah said he was suspicious of its authenticity and added that even if it was authentic, Obama could be ineligible for the presidency anyway since his father was born abroad. (Farah quickly forgot his concerns when the Canadian-born Ted Cruz, who also has one foreign-born parent, started talking about running for president.)
You could argue that WorldNetDaily was a precursor to the Trump era, as the site became a place where the Republican establishment mingled with wild conspiracy theories and racist fearmongering. Along with the birther story, WND helped drive the Jade Helm 15 panic and has run stories alleging that Obama is building “FEMA concentration camps,” is planning the next Holocaust and wears a secret Muslim wedding ring. The outlet has entertained claims that gay men were behind the Holocaust and once ran a six-part series arguing that soy turns kids gay. WND frequently fuels racial panic, such as with an article it published on its front page yesterday with the banner headline “Coming To Your Suburb: The Ghettos. Thanks, Obama!” At the same time, the outlet frequently interviews GOP members of Congress and has published articles written by presidential candidates.
The Western Conservative Conference will also feature another prominent birther, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was honored at last year’s event with a roast full of racist jokes.