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. Mary Rawson

    I wish the Republicans would quit showing their ignorance.

    May 29, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  2. Rachel

    Not sure if trolling, or just plain stupid.

    May 29, 2012 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  3. mary

    Trump only hits up the media for self promotion. He has some ulterior motive as to why he's dragging this up again at this particular time. His true motive will reveal itself shortly. I wouldn't be surprised if he's not a birther at all.

    May 29, 2012 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  4. John

    Why aren't people up in arms that Obama is hiding a time machine, the same one he used to go back and put his "birth announcement" in the 1961 newspaper?

    May 29, 2012 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  5. blackwolf009

    Trump is trying 2 stir up trouble.

    May 29, 2012 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  6. TKO

    I agree, but he's shoving HUGE amounts of many into this campaign and positioning (so he says) for the vice presidency–this just goes to show the inordinate amount of influence the uber-wealthy have in this country.

    May 29, 2012 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  7. Bill

    There's a good reason that the average IQ is 100.

    May 29, 2012 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  8. Saint anna

    So if Obama was'nt born yet.. Who found who his mom would be? where his Father would come from? and if he would be a president. Is this guy a prophet or Something??

    May 29, 2012 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  9. GBfromOhio

    "I don't always agree with every right wing nutcase, but I'll say whatever they want me to in order to get elected, I'm a privileged corporate raider multi-millionaire and I want to be elected so badly I'll give up my car elevator if it comes to that."

    May 29, 2012 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  10. Bob

    Trump is a great man. Someday he will be an American hero if wasn't a right-wing fascist.

    May 29, 2012 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  11. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    all Wolf really did is give Trump what he wants and that's attention. Maybe Wolf should have had George Will there for backup. The sensible Republicans are tired of this nonsense because not only does it make the party look bad but racist as well.

    May 29, 2012 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  12. GBfromOhio

    "I don't always take the birther side, but when I do it's when Donald Trump is in the room. Or other birther people. What do the polls say I should say about this again?"

    May 29, 2012 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  13. Marc S. Fischer

    Donald Trump is one sick, paranoid individual. Why do news organizations interview the lunatic. He should stick with reality tv.

    May 29, 2012 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  14. adrifter

    Mr. Trump, if Barack Obama was born in Kenya, where is the 'real' birth certificate from that country? Or is that all part of the conspiracy. The conspiracy being, of course, that there has been a decades-long plot to elect as president a black man with an African name (and a Muslim middle name), a father born in Kenya, a white American mother, and a childhood partly spent in Indonesia. All qualities that Americans just love to vote for when choosing a president. You mean that conspiracy?

    May 29, 2012 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  15. Marge

    Trump needs to sit down and shut up

    May 29, 2012 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  16. hansdick

    I had not appreciated until this moment that Trump is a pathological liar. A classic.

    May 29, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  17. DENNA

    What the heck is wrong with Republicans? Do you really think this is going to work better this time? Really? Seriously? As conservative columnist George Will said, Trump is a bloviating ignoramous. Right now George Will is the only conservative I respect. Mitt, if you are going to cozy up to The Donald, why don't you get yourself some fishnet stockings, a short skirt and a lamp post and call this what it is?

    May 29, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  18. stephanie

    wiferism-not saying mitt has more than one wife. i believe it when he says he only has one wife at least i hope he is telling the truth. why has he only show the short form marriage license? it does make one think.

    May 29, 2012 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  19. Joe public1

    These are Trumped-Up charges! Lol, file under Rediculouse!

    May 29, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  20. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    @ Ralph.....

    why is it that the first non-white POTUS has to be forced to show his transcript and GPA? If I was Obama I wouldn't show it either. Did you ask to see Bush's or Clinton's? I doubt it. And by the way where are Trump and Romney's tax forms? Obama showed his.

    May 29, 2012 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  21. wazuri77

    birtherism , a smokescreen, for racism...Barack's mother was American, end of story...and unless birthers can prove she was flown out of the country and gave birth to Barack in Kenya (btw he is still ELIGIBLE), this conversation is over...

    May 29, 2012 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  22. bcisleman

    No reasonable person cares what the Hair Comb Over-in-Chief is blowing out of his butt. The real issue is that The Rominee will not disown that gas bag.

    May 29, 2012 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  23. 0704American

    I was actually looking forward to Trump / Palin 2012. I know they would have given us a much deserved laugh.

    May 29, 2012 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  24. kernal klink

    By Dylan Stableford
    May 18, 2012

    A possible source of the so-called "birther" issue–or at least a potential cause of the rumors that have dogged President Barack Obama–has been identified.
    Obama's former literary agency misidentified his birthplace as Kenya while trying to promote the then-Harvard Law grad as an author in 1991.
    According to a promotional booklet produced by the agency, Acton & Dystel, to showcase its roster of writers, Obama was "born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii."

    May 29, 2012 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  25. Dotti

    i completly agree with kathy.Stop giving him TV time.

    May 29, 2012 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
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