Fact Check

Did Barack Obama Tweet, 'Ask Ukraine If They Found My Birth Certificate'?

Humor can be hard to recognize if it aligns too closely with public perception.

Published Oct 7, 2019

 (Frederic Legrand - COMEO / Shutterstock.com)
Image Via Frederic Legrand - COMEO / Shutterstock.com
Former President Barack Obama tweeted: "Ask Ukraine if they found my birth certificate."

One of the things former President Barack Obama was known for while in office was engaging in corny quips termed "dad jokes," many of them self-deprecating. So to some people, it may not have seemed out of the realm of possibility in October 2019 that he would have lobbed a "dad joke" on Twitter that invoked the past conspiracy theories about his place of birth and a current scandal involving his White House successor and Ukraine.

The tweet, dated October 4, 2019, was an apparent forgery, as we found no evidence that the 44th president posted it from his account:

The fake tweet was a play on an impeachment inquiry spearheaded by Democratic members of the House of Representatives over allegations that President Donald Trump had attempted to extort damaging information on a political rival from Ukraine by withholding military aid to that country.

As well, the "birth certificate" reference riffed on the "birther" conspiracy theory, the discredited notion proffered by some (including Donald Trump) that Obama was born in Kenya and not the United States, thereby disqualifying him from holding the U.S. presidency.


Karni, Annie and Nicholas Fandos.  "Legal Team Says It Represents a Second Whistle-Blower Over Trump and Ukraine."     The New York Times.   6 October 2019.

Breuninger, Kevin.   "Michelle Obama: I’ll ‘Never Forgive’ Trump for ‘Putting My Family’s Safety at Risk’ by Pushing the Birther Conspiracy Theory."     CNBC.   9 November 2018.

Bethania Palma is a journalist from the Los Angeles area who started her career as a daily newspaper reporter and has covered everything from crime to government to national politics. She has written for ... read more