The Obama Administration has fired back at comments made over the weekend by Franklin Graham, son of famed evangelist preacher Billy Graham that the President might not have been born in the U.S.
Speaking to ABC News on Sunday, Graham described Obama as a very nice man, but also suggested that the “birthers” (conservatives who believe Obama was born in Kenya and therefore ineligible to be the US President) may be onto something.
The president, I know, has some issues to deal with here. He can solve this whole birth certificate issue pretty quickly, Graham said.
I was born in a hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, and I know that my records are there. You can probably even go and find out what room my mother was in when I was born. I don't know why he can't produce that. So, I'm not -- I don't know, but it's an issue that looks like he could answer pretty quickly.
In response on Monday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said: I think it's unfortunate that a religious leader would choose Easter Sunday to make preposterous charges.”
Graham was also asked about questions of Obama’s true religious faith, since Obama’s father was a practicing Muslim.
There are many people that do wonder where he really stands on that. Now, he has told me that he is a Christian. But the debate comes, what is a Christian? Graham said.
For him, going to church means he's a Christian. For me, the definition of a Christian is whether we have given our life to Christ and are following him in faith and we have trusted him as our lord and savior. God is the only one who knows his heart.
Graham touched on other subjects, including Republican luminaries Sarah Palin and Donald Trump.
I don't think she likes politics, he said, referring to Palin. I think she likes speaking on the issues and I agree with many of the issues that she brings up but I don't see her as running for president.
Regarding Trump, Graham declared: The more you listen to him, the more you say to yourself, 'you know, maybe the guy's right.'
Graham has earned the ire of the Obama camp before. In 2001, he condemned Islam as an ”evil” religion. Last year, he claimed Obama was born a Muslim.
Meanwhile, President Obama celebrated Easter Sunday at the Shiloh Baptist Church, an institution founded by freed slaves, in Washington DC.
The president took his family to church in a very high-profile way to celebrate Easter, spokesman Carney said.
I think it was highly visible to most Americans. And he, as a devoted Christian, he believes it's a very important holiday for him personally, for his family and for Christians around the country.