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The Times
  • Maddocks: Donald Trump praises president for offering a path to citizenship for himself

  • Praising President Obama for his willingness to take on an issue that has proven divisive and politically unpopular in the past, Donald Trump said he fully supported what he described as Mr. Obama’s new plan to secure a path to citizenship for himself.

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  • Praising President Obama for his willingness to take on an issue that has proven divisive and politically unpopular in the past, Donald Trump said he fully supported what he described as Mr. Obama’s new plan to secure a path to citizenship for himself.
    Mr. Trump said he was confident that Mr. Obama -- no longer be forced to live illegally in the White House -- will become a more productive and active member of the community, and the real estate mogul even offered to help the president acclimate to his adopted homeland.
    Stepping off a helicopter, emblazoned with his name, that had just landed in the White House Rose Garden, Mr. Trump flashed a wide smile and told a phalanx of Secret Service agents that hearing the president speak on immigration made him proud to be an American, adding that he is delighted that their boss might someday be able to say the same.
    “Though I don’t want him cutting in front of anyone to get there,” Mr. Trump quickly added.
    Mr. Trump, the billionaire businessman and television entertainer, was making his first comments on what he termed the president’s “immigration status.”
    Mr. Trump stood before the group of perplexed Secret Service agents and answered questions for nearly 30 minutes in a combative and jovial fashion that has become familiar to viewers of his hit shows, "The Apprentice" and "The Celebrity Apprentice," on NBC.
     Just before being unceremoniously escorted from the White House grounds, the real estate mogul tried to point out that in pushing Mr. Obama to release his long-form birth certificate that it was he, Mr. Trump, who had helped set the wheels in motion for comprehensive immigration reform, and thanks to that effort, the nation’s commander in chief will now be allowed “to become one of us.”
    "Today, I'm very proud of myself because I've accomplished something that nobody else has been able to accomplish," Mr. Trump told a pack of guard dogs that had encircled the wealthy reality television personality and his helicopter. "I am really honored, frankly, to have played such a big role in hopefully getting rid of this issue."
    Mr. Trump said he would oppose any measures that did not allow the immigrant president to gain legal status to become an American citizen one day.
    “I’ve said from day one that we have to do what’s in the best interest of this great nation and I can’t see any way that this country, which is so proud of me, benefits in the least from having a non-citizen in the Oval Office,” Mr. Trump said.
    Even while Mr. Trump has been focused on proving he is not an orangutan and on getting to outer space before Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, overhauling Mr. Obama’s immigration problem remains a priority for him this year, he said.
    Page 2 of 2 - He urged Mr. Obama to lay out his plan for becoming an American citizen in the coming weeks, perhaps even next week in his State of the Union address.
    Mr. Trump insisted -- and he said Mr. Obama understood -- that the solution to the president’s undocumented status is not an amnesty.
    “I will make sure that his path to citizenship will include fines, the payment of back taxes, and an apology to the American public for poking fun at me during that White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2011,” said Mr. Trump.
    The president’s plan should also impose nationwide verification of his birth certificate and create some form of guest-worker program to allow Mr. Obama to continue to work at the White House, Mr. Trump added.
    "He should have done it a long time ago," Mr. Trump said. "Why he didn't, I can’t say. But as one bestselling author to another, I will do everything I can to help him through this.”
    Mr. Trump, who has repeatedly raised questions about the president's birth certificate, said he hoped with the president now on the path to citizenship that the conversation would shift to more serious matters like Mr. Trump’s superior skills.
    "I know how to make money -- I've always known how to make money," Mr. Trump said. "And this country is broke. You tell me what it ought to be doing."
    As his news conference with the Secret Service agents and the White House guard dogs reached the end, a black stretch limousine police cruiser pulled up behind him, and members of law enforcement signaled that it was time for him to go.
    As Mr. Trump turned away and boarded a three-car police motorcade, he said, “I think I’m on to something really big here. We’ll see where it takes me.”
    Philip Maddocks writes a weekly satirical column. He can be reached at pmaddocks@wickedlocal.com.
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