After years leading the false charge that President Barack Obama was born outside of the United States, President-elect Donald Trump is facing his own minor “birtherism” moment, with a Pakistani television network claiming the New Yorker was born in Pakistan.
“Believe it or not, presidential candidate Donald Trump was born in Pakistan and not in America,” the Urdu-language Neo News reported last month in a video clip that went viral after Trump’s election victory on November 8.
The report, not unlike the claims once made against Obama, appears to have originated with social media posts positing unsourced theories about Trump’s birth and previously unknown life in the Islamic Republic.
According to Neo News, Trump was born as Dawood Ibrahim Khan in the now-Taliban-controlled Waziristan region of the country in 1954. After his parents were killed in a car accident, a British Indian Army captain took little Dawood to London, where the Trump family later adopted him and brought him to America, the report claimed.
Citing numerous tweets to back up the story, Neo News even provided a photo of the alleged young Trump, wearing what appears to be traditional Pakistani boys’ garb.
If Trump were born in Pakistan he would be ineligible to serve as US president.
Following Tuesday’s election, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif congratulated Trump on his “historic” victory. The Pakistani leader said that Trump’s election “is indeed the triumph of the American people and their enduring faith in the ideals of democracy, freedom, human rights and free enterprise.”
The president-elect was, for many years, the most prominent proponent of the “birther” movement, which claimed that Obama was born outside the US and was thus ineligible to be president — despite the fact that he was born in Hawaii. Trump’s comments were seen by many as an attempt to delegitimize the nation’s first black president.
In September Trump finally acknowledged for the first time that Obama was born in the United States. “President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period,” he told a nationally televised press conference in Washington, DC.
Shortly before Trump’s announcement, Obama said that he believed most people know he was born in the United States, and that he hoped the election campaign would focus on “more serious issues.”
Responding to a reporter’s question about Trump’s recent refusal to say that the president was born in the United States, Obama said he was “pretty confident about where I was born, I think most people were, as well.”
As late as August 2012, Trump was still pushing the issue on Twitter:
An 'extremely credible source' has called my office and told me that @BarackObama's birth certificate is a fraud.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 6, 2012
Trump’s campaign rhetoric included calls for a ban on Muslim immigrants entering the US, followed by promises of “extreme vetting” of immigrants from countries affected by terrorism. That policy could presumably retroactively apply to Trump himself, if the reports of his Pakistani birth amount to more than his own Obama birther claims.