(LAS VEGAS) — Former presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said Tuesday that he believes President Obama was born in Hawaii, despite the birther controversy perpetuated by Donald Trump ahead of a high-dollar fundraiser Tuesday night in honor of Mitt Romney.
“Governor Romney is not distracted, the Republican party is not distracted,” Gingrich said when asked about how Trump’s claims that Obama was not born in the United States might not serve Romney’s candidacy well. “We believe this is an American-born, job-killing president.”
Trump has spent the past several days calling into question the president’s place of birth. Romney has not explicitly distanced himself from the comments, saying only that he does not agree with everything his supporters say just as they do not always agree with him. A campaign aide later said that Romney has always maintained that he believes Obama was born in the U.S.
“Other people may believe that he was born somewhere else and still kills jobs, but that’s an argument over background,” said Gingrich, speaking in the lobby of the Trump International Hotel where he will attend a fundraiser expected to raise more than $2 million for Romney’s campaign.
“I’m happy to say I believe he was born in Hawaii,” Gingrich said.
Asked if he thought he should suggest to Trump to back down from his birther claims, Gingrich said, “Far be it from me to suggest to the Donald what he should do.”
“I’m not afraid of him, I just know it’s hopeless to suggest anything to him about what he should do,” said Gingrich.
Gingrich abandoned his bid for the presidency earlier this month and threw his support behind Romney.
Gingrich rebuffed a question about when he’d release the delegates he was awarded during the primary, answering bluntly, “When it’s appropriate.”
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