Donald Trump
Richard Drew  /  AP
Donald Trump is interviewed in New York, Monday, April 25, 2011. The real estate mogul criticized Republicans for embracing Rep. Paul Ryan's plan to cut Medicare and seemed hurt that 2008 GOP nominee John McCain had suggested Trump's potential presidential bid was a publicity grab.
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updated 4/26/2011 9:48:42 AM ET 2011-04-26T13:48:42

Real estate mogul Donald Trump suggested in an interview Monday that President Barack Obama had been a poor student who did not deserve to be admitted to the Ivy League universities he attended.

Trump, who is mulling a bid for the Republican presidential nomination, offered no proof for his claim but said he would continue to press the matter as he has the legitimacy of the president's birth certificate.

"I heard he was a terrible student, terrible. How does a bad student go to Columbia and then to Harvard?" Trump said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I'm thinking about it, I'm certainly looking into it. Let him show his records."

Obama graduated from Columbia University in New York in 1983 with a degree in political science after transferring from Occidental College in California. He went on to Harvard Law School, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1991 and was the first black president of the Harvard Law Review.

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Video: Trump: ‘The world is destroying our country’ (on this page)

Obama's 2008 campaign did not release his college transcripts, and in his best-selling memoir, "Dreams From My Father," Obama indicated he hadn't always been an academic star. Trump told the AP that Obama's refusal to release his college grades were part of a pattern of concealing information about himself.

"I have friends who have smart sons with great marks, great boards, great everything and they can't get into Harvard," Trump said. "We don't know a thing about this guy. There are a lot of questions that are unanswered about our president."

2012: What Donald Trump says about the GOP

Katie Hogan, a spokeswoman for Obama's re-election campaign, declined to comment.

'Birther' controversy
Trump, a wealthy businessman and reality TV host, has risen to the top of many polls in part by his outspoken call for Obama to release his long form birth certificate.

The state of Hawaii has released a certificate of live birth indicating Obama was born there on August 4, 1961, but that has not quelled critics who believe Obama was born outside the United States and is therefore not qualified to be president.

The so-called "birther" controversy has dominated the early stage of the 2012 GOP nominating contest, with Trump leading the charge.

"I have more people that are excited about the fact that I reinvigorated this whole issue," Trump said, adding "the last guy (Obama) wants to run against is Donald Trump."

Story: Trump: I’m ‘last person Obama wants to run against’

Trump is scheduled to travel to the early primary states of New Hampshire and Nevada this week and said he will make a final decision about a presidential bid by June.

Also in the AP interview, Trump:

— Said Republicans had made a mistake by embracing a budget proposal crafted by Wisconsin GOP Rep. Paul Ryan that included deep cuts in Medicare. "The seniors are afraid. The plan Paul Ryan put forth has made the Democrats so happy," Trump said.

— Declined to disclose his net worth, saying he'll do so if he decides to run. "You'll see what it is, possibly, very likely, in the next four weeks. I don't want to say because I don't want to ruin the press conference," he said.

— Expressed surprise that the 2008 GOP nominee, John McCain, had suggested Trump's effort was a publicity stunt. "I congratulate him for getting the attention he's getting," McCain told NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday.

Video: McCain: Trump having ‘time of his life’

Trump said he had been a big supporter of McCain.

"I would find it hard to believe he would say anything bad because I raised a fantastic amount of money for him," Trump said.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Trump: ‘The world is destroying our country’

  1. Closed captioning of: Trump: ‘The world is destroying our country’

    >> in early polls and says he's seriously considering running. he told us he doesn't agree with the plan republicans passed last week to cut the deficit. despite fact checks demonstrating there is no merit to it, he's sticking to his claim that president obama may not have been born in this country, even as prominent conservatives tell him to drop the issue.

    >> what i am saying is there is a question. there is a bigger question now than two months ago when i first started. he doesn't have -- he might have it -- and i hope he has it.

    >> how are you out on an island on this issue. eric cantor said i don't think he's serious when we see a campaign launch on the birther issue. karl rove said your full embrace of the birther issue means he's in the nutty right and is now an inconsequential candidate.

    >> oh, really? i'm leading in every poll.

    >> are you willing to lose over this issue?

    >> no. i tell you what. i hope he does. i would love him to come out with a proper birth certificate.

    >> you have talked about how successful you have been and when you disclose your finances we'll be amazed.

    >> i think you will be very surprised at forbes says $2.7 billion. it's much higher.

    >> why don't you release them now?

    >> it said first you announce and within 30 days --

    >> voluntarily you could do it.

    >> well, i'm going to announce first. they give you a 60-day extension. i don't need the extension. i have built a fantastic company with a fantastic worth. this country needs somebody that can do a great job. when you see what china is doing to us, we'll lose $300 billion to china this year and they are taking our jobs. they are doing it through manipulation of the currency.

    >> it is a sovereign nation . you can't tell china not to.

    >> if you have the right messenger they won't do it for long.

    >> you think you can tell them.

    >> we have the cards. they don't. they have some of our debt. big deal . it's a small number relative to the world. okay? my policy is simple. i would tell china very nicely, fellows, you're my friend, i like you very much -- and i have made a lot of money with china. i would say we are going to put a 25% tax on all your products coming in and that's going to do a number of things. number one, as soon as they believe it will happen they will behave so nicely because it would destroy their economy.

    >> how much of your money would you put into the campaign?

    >> a lot. i have a lot of cash. i can do it. i know a lot of people at the white house and one in particular and the last person he wants to run against is donald trump .

    >> do you support the ryan plan to bring the deficit down by $4 trillion?

    >> i'm concerned about doing anything that's going to tinker too much with medicare. i protect the senior citizens . senior citizens are protected. they are lifeblood, as far as i'm concerned. i think paul ryan is too far out front with the issue. he ought to sit back and relax.

    >> how do you not touch entitlements like medicare, medicaid, social security . that's where the debt problem is. how do you touch the debt problem without that?

    >> by stopping what's going on in the world. the world is destroying our country. these other countries are sapping our strength. opec is sapping our strength. we can't pay $108 a barrel oil. it's sapping our country. by the way, they are going to raise it higher because saudi arabia said, there is plenty of oil.

    >> how does that go to the debt cris crisis?

    >> we want to create a strong country again and you can solve the deficit problem the easiest way.

    >> would you raise taxes to attack the deficit?

    >> i don't think you have to. if we get this economy going again and we can do it by getting jobs, bringing jobs back, bringing them back. let the other countries worry about themselves.

    >> should the u.s. cut defense spending to attack the deficit?

    >> no. not in my opinion. we need great defense. i guarantee you of all the republicans i'm the strongest on defense.

    >> the debt ceiling vote. republicans are saying they don't think it should be raised. businesseses have warned there could be dire consequences.

    >> i don't care. i wouldn't raise it.

    >> and that could send the own tri back into recession?

    >> most economists aren't that smart and most are wrong most of the time. i would not raise the debt ceiling.

    >> you don't think the u.s. defaulting would be grey fgrave for the economy?

    >> i'd stop raising the debt ceiling now. go out, negotiate, make deals.

    >> who is the deal to be made with?

    >> the president should be leading the deal, but i don't think he's capable enough to lead the deal. you have the republican here --

    >> are you talking about a political deal?

    >> ultimately it's all political when you get down to it, isn't it?

    >> let's grade the competition. you had statementses about mitt romney basically that amounted to your net worth is higher than his.

    >> i will say this. i like mitt romney . i don't know him, but i sort of like him. he has not resonated.

    >> you were saying you think you are a superior candidate based on the fact that you are richerer than he is.

    >> the question was how do you compare. i'm much richer. that doesn't make me better at all.

    >> what about tim pawlenty .

    >> i don't know him at all. hard to speak badly about people who say nice things about me.

    >> sarah palin ?

    >> i respect her a lot. she's got a tremendous energy and a tremendous following. i think she's been very unfairly treated.

    >> michelle bachman .

    >> i spoke to her once. she's got tremendous energy, tremendous drive. i think she's going to run and she's got a lot to say.

    >> does your family want you to run? are they encouraging you to run? are they saying don't run?

    >> with my family whether it's don, ivanka, malania, they want the country to be great again. i think they are putting the country first.

    >> what do you think you can do to really prove to people that you are serious, that you are a contender and that you are presidential?

    >> i think i'm presidential. i think i have a very high aptitude and i think i was at the best schools and always did good. i was a good student. there is only one thing i can do. sometime prior to june i can announce i will run.

    >> trump had new allegations against president obama claiming he didn't actually write his first book "dreams of my father." trump believe it is constitution has a right to privacy which may be controversial among social conservatives . the right to privacy is the legal underpinning of the roe versus wade and trump sayses he is anti-abortion.

    >> we know the obamas were worth last year $1.7 million in joint income. where does the money come from?

    >> he gets a $400,000 presidential salary, but mostly his book income.

    >> he made a lot less last year than the year before.

    >> right. $5.5 million last year from the book income.

    >> he paid more than $450,000 in taxes. he's pushing to raise taxeses on the wealthy. will this help with voters, the fact that he's in the bunch that will have taxes raised?

    >> it's a favorite talking point. he says i don't need a tax cut . warren buffett doesn't need a tax cut .

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