Real estate tycoon Donald Trump's possible presidential bid ought to be taken seriously, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) said.
"I would not push him aside," Inouye said Monday.
The nine-term senator sat down with the Civil Beat editorial board for a wide-ranging interview.
He had harsh terms for the "birther" movement, which questions President Obama's citizenship. Trump has also questioned Obama's birth place.
"What kind of nonsense is that?" Inouye said. "I can imagine someone who doesn’t know anything or hardly reads the papers coming out with statements like that, but not a billionaire. And there are a lot of them like that."
He also noted the 2012 election is "not going to be easy for Democrats." The party is attempting to win back control of the House and keep the majority in the Senate next year.