Donald Trump said Texas Gov. Rick Perry's flirtation with the birther issue would help him in the Republican presidential primary, in an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan.
While the real estate mogul said the issue would help him in the primaries, he said it might not be "good for him in the general election." A May poll released after the White House published President Barack Obama's long-form birth certificate online showed 34 percent of Republicans believed Obama was not born in the United States. Perry has fallen in Republican primary polls since announcing his candidacy in mid-August. Trump promoted the birther cause and still has doubts about Obama's origins.
Trump and Perry dined together in September. After the dinner, he said, "I had dinner last night with Jim Perry," flubbing the candidate's first name. Trump also called Perry an "impressive guy."
Perry opened the door to speculation about Obama's birth certificate last weekend in an interview with Parade magazine. When asked whether he had seen the president's birth certificate, he said: "I don't know. Have I?" When pressed on whether he believed it had been released, he said, "I don't know. I had dinner with Donald Trump the other night."
In a Tuesday CNBC interview, Perry said on the birther issue, "It's a good issue to keep alive. It's fun to poke at him."
Former Bush White House senior adviser Karl Rove, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and fellow Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman have all criticized Perry for toying with the issue.
Perry said Wednesday in an interview that he has "no doubt" that Obama is a citizen and was born in the United States. He added, "I don't think I was expressing doubts. I was just having some fun with Donald Trump."