May 29th, 2012
05:12 PM ET
6 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. roughneck

    In circus after every serious and intense act "A CLOWN / JOKER" comes in and makes people laugh at him.
    What is the difference between CLOWN AND JOKER?
    None, these are the part of DONALD CLOWN TRUMP JOKER name.

    May 29, 2012 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  2. garc

    Since the right loves to complain about the Obama 'pal-ing around with' university professors, etc. (educated people, albeit way to the left of what the republicans prefer), why are the democrats not being more aggressive about romney pal-ing around this lying, ignorant, racist charlatan wearing a cat on his head?

    May 29, 2012 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  3. Larry L

    A "birther" at this point is either a racist, ignorant, or a dishonest person trying to gain political favor. Trump isn't ignorant.

    May 29, 2012 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    This is all too funny!!! I am neither a party but, still to the issues. If you don't like Obama then, fine, support the candidate that you want for president but, stop with the stupid crap. Why can't they come up with real issues against Obama instead of piddly things. If Romney is suppose to turn the country around and care about the American people where was he and his ideas for the past 4yrs? If all their ideas were better then, why haven't they made suggestions that would help the country instead of bashing the leader now? Come on really a Birth Certificate?

    May 29, 2012 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  5. Leslie

    My sentiments, exactly, Kathy. "bloviating ignoramus" is about the nicest thing I can think of to say about him. Why does the media persist in thinking that ANYTHING he has to say is worth reporting on? Spare us, please!

    May 29, 2012 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  6. Patrish

    Oh, get over it. We have a black president so there will always be something to whine about. As for Trump – put a sock in Donald, no one cares what you think.

    May 29, 2012 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  7. Ken N.

    Trump would have to admit he was wrong. Not going to happen.

    May 29, 2012 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  8. Lizzie

    You have to give it to Trump, Hillary Clinton questioned the Presidents birthplace, back in the Illionous senate race Keyes questioned it, then senator Obama said "WHO CARES I'M NOT RUNNING FOR PRESSIDENT."
    And after more then 2 years the President finally finds his birthcertificate. Now how about open up all those college and university grades, like the left demanded from Pres.Bush.

    May 29, 2012 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  9. Dennis

    In My Opinion Bravo Wolf !!! Donald apears desperate to me. Donald is more interested in how much more Donald can make this year than he is in Republican Politics. Looking for friends in high places perhaps?

    May 29, 2012 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  10. San Diego

    Donald go home we are so tired of you and your show

    May 29, 2012 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  11. RT

    As a woman who went through childbirth 3 times–what middle class white woman would leave the support of her family and friends, not to mention doctor and the availability of high quality hospitals, in order to go to the other side of the world and have a baby in a third-world country–with no emergency services available in a hut? It would not happen in a million years unless she was physically kidnapped, but then how would a screaming, pregnant woman fail to be noticed during the long trip to Kenya? These "birther" white men just have no clue what a woman would do to protect herself and her baby.

    May 29, 2012 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  12. sharon

    Thank you, Wolf Blitzer, for bringing facts and fact-finding questions to this interview!

    I think one of the most important parts of the interview begins at 6:24 when Wolf asks a follow-up question about Donald Trump's claim to Meredith Viera that he had investigators in Hawaii who 'can not believe what they're finding' about Pres. Obama's birth certificate. I'd been wondering when someone would hold Trump accountable and ask this question. Trump's technique to avoid answering was classic and tells me all I care to know about him.

    The article would be better if it included this part of the interview.

    May 29, 2012 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  13. Adam Hawkes

    If it acts like a fish smells like a fish swims like a fish is slimy like a fish its probably not a duck.

    May 29, 2012 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  14. Adam Goldstein

    You goy think the media is going to tell you the truth about puppet Obama's birth? LOL we control the man, and we control the information we choose to let you know. Us Jews truly have usurped your pitiful nation, you goy are so gullible....LOL!!!

    May 29, 2012 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  15. Truth

    Donald Trump is a huge Baffoon. That being said I have downloaded the Birth Cert from the Whitehouse website and that thing is as fake as a 3$ bill. I have seen better photoshop on instagram. I am not saying I agree with Trump I am just saying the birth cert they release is fake. Dont believe me? look it up for yourself.

    May 29, 2012 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  16. David Jones

    Mr Trump.. it is the accuser who must present the evidence. Seriously with all your wealth, you have nothing to offer except that it is commonplace to place birth announcements in the newspaper for parents abroad. When with any investigative work you would already know that it is not the parents that place the announcement but Health and Human Services. Which gets the list from birth certificates issued. But even following your logic, why would a US citizen who had a child abroad need to place an ad in the newspaper to establish citizenship.

    After all this time you believe something so dearly yet you haven't produced a single shred of evidence except heresy and your own rumor mill. Really you are telling me that if Obama was born outside the US that their wouldn't be a passport or passport stamp, no airline ticket of Obama coming into the US from Kenya? Seriously?

    May 29, 2012 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  17. Susan in NC

    Anyone who listens to such a negative, divisive, arrogant, ridiculous man as Donal Trump has shown himself to be time and time again, doesn't deserve to vote. And, Mitt "I think we need an elevator for our CAR in our new home, dear" Romney is simply trying to buy his way into the Presidency of the United States. "Answer Man" Romney has all the pronouncements anyone could ever listen to, but NONE of the "how-to's" for getting those things accomplished. We'll see in November just how much power his money can buy cause that's the ONLY thing that'll ever get him elected.

    May 29, 2012 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  18. fred37ify

    This wouldn't be an issue if Barrack wasn't hiding something ! America deserves to know who the president is !

    May 29, 2012 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  19. A W Messenger

    Obama's attorney has already stated the certificate from Hawaii was a forgery. Google it. The truth will come out eventually, but probably not until after he is out of office. I think what many in America are looking for is the birth certificate with the little footprints on it. I have one of those from when I was born. I imagine everyone does. We haven't seen that version ... yet.

    May 29, 2012 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  20. scott

    Since when did Trump's opinion or thinking on a subject matter anywhere outside of his own office or boardroom?
    Giving him any attetnion, particualraly on this topic, only gives him the attetnion he craves
    Stupidity, at least this form of it, when ignored eventually goes away. Why run with this CNN? Did you really need he ratings? Too slow of a news day?

    May 29, 2012 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  21. DJ Reality

    Trump just wants attention that all. We feed his addiction for it. He has to be in the lime light whether or not he has anything relevant to say. So, Let's ignore him and hope he goes away.

    May 29, 2012 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  22. Independant Mind

    Correct me if I'm wrong but it doesn't matter where he was born. His mother was a US Citizen so he is automatically a citizen right? Am I wrong?

    May 29, 2012 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  23. dont be a sucker

    Where he was born isn't as important as to whether or not he renounced his American Citizenship in order to attend school in Indonesia; which you must do or he couldn't have legally got his education there according to Indonesian law...This is what should be looked into.

    May 29, 2012 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  24. casey

    By the by, I think some of the confusian about obamma and kenya is they offer dual citizenship if you have a kenyan parent.

    May 29, 2012 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  25. Polar Bear

    I'm surprised that the CNN pro-Obama slant machine even included the "fact" about the book that states Obama was born in Kenya. The guy said he was "sorry" so that ends it, right? And even "McCain decried extreme theories." Hello! McCain lost! There are so many other reasons why Obama shouldn't be president, I don't need the birther issue. And Trump. What can you say. A reality show "personality" that's made his money by bankrupting a succession of companies. Yuck! But what is really evident in the article is how nasty the Dems are. They don't even pretend to be civil anymore. They are like a bunch of abusive alcoholics. Just mean!

    May 29, 2012 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
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