May 29th, 2012
05:12 PM ET
2 years ago

Blitzer and Trump go at it over Trump's 'birther' claims

(CNN) - Donald Trump did not back down Tuesday from his questioning of President Barack Obama's birthplace, instead arguing heatedly with CNN's Wolf Blitzer that "a lot of people do not think it was an authentic certificate," though he declined to offer names of experts who agree with him.

The issue of Obama's birth - litigated in the 2008 presidential campaign, then settled when the Obama White House released the longform version of the certificate in April 2011 - is being brought to the fore in no small part by Trump, who is also set to fundraise alongside presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney Tuesday evening.

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On CNN's "The Situation Room" Tuesday, Trump maintained that Obama's birthplace is a matter of opinion, rather than fact.

"Everybody's entitled to your opinion," he said. "You know my opinion and you know his opinion and that's fine. We're entitled - as he said yesterday in the airplane - we're all entitled to our opinions and he's entitled to have his opinion. I don't happen to share that opinion, it's wonderful."

Blitzer presented Trump with newspaper announcements of Obama's birth from 1961.

Trump interrupted, "Can you stop defending Obama?"

"Donald, you're beginning to sound a little ridiculous, I have to tell you," Blitzer replied.

"You are, Wolf," Trump fired back. "Let me tell you something, I think you sound ridiculous."

Trump then alleged that the practice of filing U.S. birth announcements for an overseas birth was commonplace, though he offered no evidence.

"Many people put those announcements in because they wanted to get the benefits of being so-called born in this country," Trump said. "Many people did it."

Obama's longform birth certificate showed he was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961 and was acknowledged as authentic by state officials. Natural born American citizenship is one of the Constitutional requirements for the presidency.

"Is it the most important thing?" Trump asked in an interview earlier on Tuesday. "In a way it is. You're not allowed to be the president if you're not born in the country."

Trump finds himself at odds with GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, whose spokeswoman pointed out in an email statement that "Governor Romney has said repeatedly that he believes President Obama was born in the United States."

But Romney made no effort to distance himself from the comments, even when presented with the opportunity by reporters on Monday.

"You know, I don't agree with all the people who support me and my guess is they don't all agree with everything I believe in," Romney said when asked about the issue. "But I need to get 50.1% or more and I'm appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people."

Trump said he has not spoken about the birther issue with Romney

"I haven't talked to Mitt Romney about it," he said. "What I speak to Mitt Romney about is jobs. What I speak to Mitt Romney about is China, because he's got a great view on China and how they're taking our jobs and taking our product and manipulating their currency so it makes it almost impossible for our companies to compete."

Trump spoke by phone with Blitzer in the interview from Las Vegas, where he and Romney will fundraise with former GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.

Obama's campaign released a web video on Tuesday that said the 2008 GOP nominee "John McCain stood up to the voices of extremism in his party… Why won't Mitt Romney do the same?" In the video, McCain is seen addressing a woman who called Obama an "Arab," saying, "He's a decent family man, citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with."

The president's deputy campaign manager suggested Romney's alliance with Trump in light of the tycoon's statements calls into question how he would serve as president.

"Mitt Romney's continued embrace of Donald Trump and refusal to condemn his disgraceful conspiracy theories demonstrates his complete lack of moral leadership," Stephanie Cutter said in a Tuesday afternoon statement. "If Mitt Romney lacks the backbone to stand up to a charlatan like Donald Trump because he's so concerned about lining his campaign's pockets, what does that say about the kind of President he would be?"

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday the White House was forced to address the issue last year, "but not because we chose to, but because it was such a ridiculous distraction from the important business that we should be doing here that the president is committed to doing and Congress should be doing to help the economy grow and help it create jobs."

"We can revisit that but I think the American people are pretty fed up with this kind of nonsense," he said.

As evidence of his claims, Trump pointed to a biographical note published in the 1990s by Obama's literary agent, which said Obama was born in Kenya.

The literary agent recently apologized for the mistake.

Also see:

Romney likely to hit 'magic number' on Tuesday

Texas gears up for Lone Star primary

Romney doesn't back away from 'birther' Trump


Filed under: 2012 • Birthers • Donald Trump • Mitt Romney
soundoff (1,069 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    "Much as I think the whole birther thing is kinda ridiculous, there is this: that was not an original document, nor did it indicate anywhere that it was even a copy of an original document."

    You just don't get it, do you? An original will NEVER be released because it is the duty of the government office to retain originals. All you will EVER get is a certified copy. If it has an official seal (embossed or not) that makes it admissible in place of the original in all 50 states and all federal courts. Same if there is no seal but an "attestation of certification." It would really be nice if you nutjobs would actually learn about the law and what constitutes evidence.

    May 30, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    @TSB8C

    It's folks such as yourself that make ALL Americans look foolish.

    "Where Obama was born is irelevent ... if his parents renouced his US citizenship (since he was a minor at the time) ... doesn't matter if he was born in Hawaii or not" ... is utter hogwash, and you know it.

    Fact is Obama WAS born in the US ... specifically Hawaii. Mitt Romney WAS born in the US ... specifically Michigan. Both of their fathers' were born outside the US. Both are still United States citizens, regardless.

    Too bad Mitt Romney had to go down this slippery road with Donald Trump. It reeks of desperation.

    May 30, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  3. Ian Harrison

    Donald Trump appears to be motivated by
    only ego and money. If this man has deeper qualities please let us know. Until then please Stop giving him the attention he does not deserve.

    May 30, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  4. jon

    Conservative icon George Will got it right when he called Trump a nincompoop.

    May 30, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  5. BadPolitx

    He proves the point that you do not have to be smart to be rich.
    It does help, but some fly in under the radar.
    As B.Bunny once said" What a maroon ...".

    May 30, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  6. russ

    This Trump guy doesn't sound too smart. Does he think his words are more important than anyone else's because he has alot of $$$? He really sounds ignorant since he cannot back his claims with factual evidence. What an egotistical moron.

    May 30, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  7. Mark

    Trump is a birther. Goes to show you people with a lot of money aren't necessarily very smart. Maybe the only thing money people know how to do is make money. They might not know how to make their own bowl of cereal.

    May 30, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  8. Jackson

    Hey Trump,

    Why is it bad for Obama to release the certificate of live birth, and not the birth certificate, but your golden boy Mittens can do the same thing without it being an issue.

    This is why you have zero credibility, Donald, because you are a first class blithering hypocrite!

    May 30, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  9. GE

    Trump believes his toupee is his real hair...its funny the things money make you believe

    May 30, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  10. J

    Blitzer got so fired about this. It may be ridiculous but it did make Wolfe sound like he's in the tank for Obama when he was firing back and cutting Trump off.

    May 30, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  11. DENNA

    Seriously, what does Trump expect to gain with this nonsense? I think he is a bored rich guy with more money than brains. It is amazing to me that Trump has accomplished anything in his life as he does not appear to be that smart.

    May 30, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  12. Sussay

    So here's a whacky question (if it's already been asked, I still want to know): can any of the the "birthers" prove where President Obama was born?

    May 30, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  13. "Chuck

    well at least Romney has released his birth certificate. Hadn't really thought about it but Obama released his in April of 2011?? Wouldn't he have had to do that prior to the election in 2008? All I remember about the 2008 election was all this talk about "Transparency". I got sick of hearing about it. Transparent got buried into obscurity as soon as the election was done. We still don't have Obama's college transcripts and other records for him. Why has he hidden these sorts of things?

    May 30, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  14. Ernest Wiebe

    Get a copy of the Birther the White House released and go to the blog of the hospital recorded and you will find that the hospital in Hawaii itself says that they did not get that name until after joining the other hospital 17 years after Obama was born.
    That is all I needed.

    May 30, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  15. CanadaONE

    I don't watch the trump show as it gives a poor image of Amercians – I choose to believe they are way better than and trump's negative image – he actually believes he is better than everybody

    thanks Blitz for exposing the truth – God is with you and so is Canada

    May 30, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    "I guess the GOP just realized that Romney isn't a US citizen so they are going on the offense. Romney has problems with a ex-patriot father who left then didn't reestablish US citizenship as far as I can tell."

    Actually it's Mitt's great-grandparents who left America for Mexico. Mitt's father is second generation born in Mexico - his parents (Mitt's grandparents) were born in Mexico as well. There is some debate as to whether he (George, the father) qualified as natural born because HIS parents were Mexican born. At any rate, Mitt's father first entered the US at age 5. And - as an adult - ran for President of the United States. Apparently Mitt is OK with that. Not so much with President Obama, though, who, like Mitt, WAS born in America. His alliance with Donald Trump does suggest that Mitt is using Donald to keep the birthers going full speed ahead. One wonders to what benefit, given his own history.

    May 30, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  17. John Hungler

    Respond to Johnson: you have a problem with people who live in trailers??? Oh yea they must be 99% er's or the Non Wealthy like those who who maybe of lesser financial assets than you.
    Remember they may just might move their Trailers to your property and show you that they put their pants on the same way you do.

    May 30, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  18. zulu white

    Domald Trump was right. I loved him so much

    May 30, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  19. Jeanne

    Doesn't Donald Trump have a clothes line made in China?

    May 30, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
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