May 29th, 2012
05:12 PM ET
3 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. Cindy

    Trump is nothing but a fake. Just another 2nd generation rich guy that lost most of his father's money in bankruptcy. Even Forbes doesn't think he is worth as much as he claims. This man did not even know what an official birth certificate looks like. Drop Trump, he is a con artist. He doesn't need to be near the White House and neither does Romney if he can't see through this guy.

    May 29, 2012 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  2. scoobypoo

    George Will had it right; Trump is a bloviating ignoramus and his mitness deserves him. Too funny.

    May 29, 2012 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  3. DENNA

    Wow. I am really glad that The Donald is a Republican. I would really hate it if he was a Democrat. That would be embarassing.

    May 29, 2012 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    "biographical note published in the 1990s by Obama's literary agent, which said Obama was born in Kenya." I am here to say that Obama is a US citizen but what this article doesn't say is how he conned everyone his entire adult life to satisfy his enormous ego.

    May 29, 2012 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  5. Greg

    I have no idea how Donald got to where he is. He really does come across as stupid.

    May 29, 2012 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  6. The Nudge

    Has Trump pushed Mittens to show his tax statements? He screams about China taking our jobs when Mittens was largely involved in off-shoring jobs? And,Mittens looks pathetic and desperate pandering to this creep. I'd have more respect for Mittens if he cut Trump's ugly hair.

    May 29, 2012 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  7. goethean

    This is sort of like if Obama was appearing with Louis Farrakhan...which would never happen, because crazies don't run the Democratic Party, unlike the Republican Party.

    May 29, 2012 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  8. casey

    In reply to sy

    Obammas mom graduated in Mercer Island, Washington, a wealthy suburb of seattle.
    She did take a newborne Obamma with her to Seattle when she began college there.

    Also prop planes were pretty much gone by then.
    I imagine she flew a 707 to and from seattle and hawaii.

    As far a money, the family was very wealthy. definately 1%'ers.

    Bellevue and Mercer Island were small communities then, everybody knew everybody. Thats how my family knows obamma's family and so much of their history.

    May 29, 2012 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  9. BHPT

    Newt, Romney and the Donald. Already many are calling them The Three Stooges.
    It doesn't get any better than this.

    May 29, 2012 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  10. useeknfind

    To be honest, i'm not sure where our President was born. But I find it interesting that he has spent a cool $1 million in attorney fees fighting this issue in various courts. What many of us would love to see are his college transcripts from Occidental and Harvard. Would they show he applied as a foreign student (a lie if born in Hawaii) simply to get better consideration?

    May 29, 2012 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  11. Nadeem

    This is absolutely ridiculous. How many times will Romney get a test to act Presidential. Romney was too afraid to stand up to Rush Limbaugh. Romney is now too afraid to stand up to Trump. How will Romney stand up to China? Frankly I do not see how Romney is qualified to be President. This is so far away from Presidential. Romney and Trump are an absolute joke and an embarrassment to the United States.

    May 29, 2012 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  12. chuck weidemann

    Trump is a has been in the worst way. The man could have done many wonderful things with his wealth and power...... And this is it???? Really....

    May 29, 2012 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  13. OKTOGO77

    Donald Trump is nothing but an egomaniacal, narcissistic bag of wind. Every time he opens his mouth, he reaffirms what a self-absorbed, arrogant, idiotic racist he is. But, please Donald – keep talking. Because every time you open your thin-lipped trap, you speak volumes for the party of "me, me, me"....

    May 29, 2012 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  14. Donald in CA

    Watch out Wolf, donald thump packs a lot of weight with the crazies. Plus, the birthers all believe in santa claus and charles mansons innocent. Romney openly have no shame.

    May 29, 2012 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  15. Mark

    BLOVIATED (sp.) IGNORAMUS. I'm no fan of George Will but that man NAAAAAILED IT!!! I Think there needs to be an investigation on where the Donald's hair was born. I just don't think that's American hair. It's definitely foreign.

    May 29, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  16. drkent3

    Unfortunately, Trump demonstrates the lack of critical thinking skills so prevalent in our society today. Saying "A lot of people believe." is known as a logical fallacy – argument of popularity. Just because a belief is popular does *not* mean it has any validity. For a time, most people thought the world was flat. If that's the best Trump can do, and he believes that it lends any kind of weight to his argument, it shows not only how irrational and (dare I say) s t u p i d he is – it also reflects poorly on Romney himself.

    May 29, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  17. woodin

    The usual dribble and drool out of Trump's mouth only to bring attention to himself. If it wasn't for his usual nonsense, Trump would disappear from the media and public radar.

    May 29, 2012 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  18. Glenn

    Someone has to shut Trump up so Wolf we applaud you. He has to be the biggest moron ever and just because he has money makes do difference, still a moron. Rich people can be dumb just look at trump, bachmann, palin, bush need I say more.

    May 29, 2012 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  19. JPX

    Wow, just, wow. Trump really sounds like a lunatic. There's nothing more amusing than watching the bruised ego of the narcissist. Whenever Trump is challenged by anyone he starts with the insults (e.g. saying that CNN has low ratings). I hope Trump keeps talking about the "birther" issue because it just makes republicans look like idiots.

    May 29, 2012 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  20. joe

    Mitt Romney's dad was born in Mexico

    May 29, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  21. FlotsamJetsam

    Romney,
    you got to stick up against these jerks like Trump or Limbaugh. To kiss up to Trump just makes you look desperate. You never show any backbone even to people in your own party. How would independents ever think you would ever stand up to a world leader? Here is a chance to actually look presidential. This birther crap is just ridiculous. Say something and not just through your spokesman.
    –Independent Republican voter

    May 29, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  22. Joe public1

    Mitt has knowledge,and he has wealth, but he seems to be deficient in wisdom. The POTUS must have the wisdom to make proper decisions the first time around. Keeping close with Donald Tump is politically unwise! Trump is now Mitt's surrogate weather he realizes it or not! The company you keep...

    May 29, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  23. etesot obe

    I'm no Obama fan, but a proud Independent. That said, I start to lean towards voting Obama because of the nonsense I'm
    seeing in the republican party, particularly Romney.
    First his famous comment–"I don't employ illegals, For Pete's sake I'm running for Office"....and now this "I want to get 50.1% so I'm happy for the support of anyone (including the hate-filled Trump).
    Yes, beyond telling you the inner man of Romney–that he is doing anything and everything to get elected-it also leads you to his Character–a flawed character leadership trait. That he can take anyone without Character!

    May 29, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  24. Michael Golden

    Trump. Like the Kiss of Death for Romney.

    May 29, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  25. john kenet

    Dear Wolf, please explain why Obama released two (2) fake birth certificates? Please explain why Obama has a fake selective service registration card? Please explain why Obama has a SSAN from a state he has never resided in? Please explain why Obama wrote is book lead in stating he was Kenyan born? Wolf, don't you think the American public has a right to know the real answers instead of pointing the finder "birther". I know you are doing everything to improve your ratings [and CNN too], but see how many viewers you get when you set to really "vet" the Obama.

    May 29, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
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