White House smacks Rev. Franklin Graham for 'birther' talk

The White House slammed influential evangelical leader the Rev. Franklin Graham on Monday for questioning President Obama's birthplace.

Graham, a son of the Rev. Billy Graham who has served as a spiritual adviser to several presidents with his father, said on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday that Obama "has some issues to deal with" when it comes to his birth certificate. 

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"It's unfortunate that a religious leader would use Easter Sunday to make preposterous" statements, White House press secretary Jay Carney responded Monday. 

Graham made the remarks while saying he was open to supporting Donald Trump as a GOP presidential candidate. Trump has questioned whether Obama was born in the U.S., leaping to the top of opinion polls on GOP presidential candidates in the process.

Obama's campaign released his birth certificate in 2008 to prove he was born in Hawaii. 

The younger Graham has irked the Obama White House before — the Pentagon revoked his invitation to a prayer ceremony last year after it was revealed he called Islam an "evil" religion in 2001. He also claimed last year that Obama was born a Muslim.

The dust-up between the White House and Franklin Graham comes on the one-year anniversary of Obama's last meeting with Billy Graham, who is 92. 

Carney also scoffed at media reports calling out the White House for not releasing a statement commemorating Easter on Sunday, explaining Obama and his family attended church services in Washington.

"The president went to church yesterday, it was well-covered. I'm not sure if we put out a statement or not. He obviously personally celebrated Easter with his family," he said.

When a reporter asked how Carney could not know whether the White House issued a statement, Carney shot back, "I'm glad you are asking me these key important questions, guys.

"As a devoted Christian, he believes it is a very important holiday for him personally, his family and people all around the country," he added.

Obama also delivered remarks at an Easter prayer breakfast at the White House last Tuesday.