NEW YORK, NY. – While speaking to potential donors during a black tie fund-raising event in New York City this weekend, billionaire entrepreneur and potential presidential candidate Donald Trump called on Pope Francis and the Vatican to release proof of Jesus’ birth and ethnicity.
“I’m not saying Jesus didn’t exist. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying the Vatican ought to put to rest any speculation as to Jesus’ ethnicity,” Trump said, adding, “Being Semitic doesn’t automatically make you a Jew. Semites are also Arab, they are Assyrian, they are Muslim.”
The real estate magnate said he plans to travel to Vatican City later this month to meet personally with Pope Francis and “set the record straight.”
Bill O’Reilly, host of The O’Reilly Factor, which airs on the Fox News Channel, echoed Mr. Trump’s statements, saying that while he agrees with the fundamentals of Christianity, he, too, has doubts about the historical claims surrounding Jesus’ ethnicity. “The Vatican has a long history of censoring information,” he said, adding that Jesus was born and raised in a predominantly Arab society. O’Reilly says he’s considering filing a lawsuit against the Vatican to force the Holy See to release the records.
Trump has said he is “seriously considering” a run for the presidency in 2016 but has yet to make an official announcement. In 2011, during President Obama’s run for reelection, Mr. Trump heavily advocated for the release of the president’s birth certificate, which Trump said was invalid because Obama “wasn’t born in this country,” and that “he shouldn’t be the president of the United States.”