Washington, D.C. (AP) - Reacting to continuing coverage that Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks as well as other terrorist attacks against Americans in Somalia, East Africa, and the U.S.S. Cole, had been killed in a U.S. military operation, billionaire and real estate mogul Donald Trump has requested that President Obama verify that the killed jihadist is actually Osama bin Laden by producing his original death certificate.
"Look, I really hope that we actually killed bin Laden-I really do," Trump said in a phone interview on Fox & Friends. "I hope that the President produces bin Laden's death certificate so that we know he was actually killed. But I am really concerned, I mean, there are really serious questions here. Osama is just one of the 600 members in the bin Laden family-how do we know that, you know, we got the right bin Laden? And to date, we have, you know, no troops that have verified that they shot bin Laden, we have no photographic evidence to confirm it, we don't even have a body-allegedly because it was buried at sea. I mean-if President Obama has such great intelligence on this guy, enough to, you know, trace him to a compound in Afghanistan or Iraq or Pakistan or wherever it is, why can't he produce bin Laden's death certificate to show that this was the guy actually killed?"
Trump has vowed to send investigators to "the Middle East" to search for bin Laden's death certificate. "I'm hoping to find some really interesting information," Trump said. He also has floated the possibility of personally investing $500 million in benthic submarines to locate bin Laden's body, which was buried at sea by the U.S. Navy in accordance with Islamic tradition.
Political analysts believe that Trump's statements may be intended to appeal to conservative adherents of the "deather" movement, who believe that bin Laden was not actually killed. Deathers point to the President's failure to produce an original death certificate for bin Laden to justify their skepticism. Trump has hinted that he is considering running for President as a Republican, though he has not officially declared his candidacy.
Trump also criticized the President for his handling of the matter. "Look, I mean, let's just assume that bin Laden was killed-which I hope he was, though we can't know for sure. The best Obama can do is a shot to the head? If I were President, I would have ripped his balls off, shoved them up his a--, swindled him bigtime in a real estate deal, then have him drawn and quartered in Yankee Stadium. Hell, I'd even put in on Pay-Per-View and use the money raised to pay off our national debt. You know, all of these problems are pretty simple."
When asked by ABC News whether he thought maybe he was going "a bit too far," Trump fired back. "You know, I'm just asking questions here, serious questions that no one else is asking. And if you don't understand that, f--- you, you f---ing imbecile! Do you know how much I'm worth!? Huh!? Whatever I damn well want!"
White House press secretary Jay Carney responded to Trump's comments, calling them "beyond ridiculous." "Look, DNA tests confirm that we killed Osama bin Laden," Carney said. "We have photographic evidence of bin Laden's body, with gun shots to the side of the head. The operation occurred as a result of an eight-month long intelligence investigation. We know this is the guy. Trump really should go back to what he does best-bankrupting businesses and marrying new wives."
But Trump was not persuaded by Carney's response. "Look, photographs can be forged, they can, you know, be photo-shopped. And DNA-I mean, I have DNA, you have DNA-they could just take that out of the FBI database. But all dead people have death certificates. Obama doesn't have bin Laden's death certificate. There's something on that death certificate he's afraid of-or maybe he just doesn't have it, period, and that's a scary thought that bin Laden might still be alive and well."
Trump has also noted that he expects the President to produce bin Laden's long-form death certificate, as opposed to a certified copy signed by the appropriate authorities.
Though not explicitly endorsing Trump's demands or the deather movement in general, Republican leaders have largely avoided the issue. When asked by Joe Scarborough on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program whether he believed that bin Laden was actually killed, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) responded only that he "trusted the President's word on this issue." Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), meanwhile, commented in a phone interview with CNN that "there are more important issues for us to worry about right now, like reducing the tax burdens on small business to create jobs and ending Obamacare." When asked whether she believed that bin Laden was actually killed, she claimed that her earpiece was not working.
Trump's hairpiece could not be reached for comment.