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. George

    Romney needs to repudiate the birther stance or he will lose. The crazy people who hate Obama because of his skin color (let's not pretend this isn't the basis of the birther position) are going to vote Romney regardless. If he denounces the birther stance they will think it is with a wink. The independents will jump ship to Obama if Romney clings to this type of crazy.

    May 29, 2012 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain

    Here's what Americans SHOULD be asking: How is it that Mittens' dad, George, ran for POTUS when he was BORN IN MEXICO?!?

    May 29, 2012 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  3. Hasai

    Oh, my, God.

    Will the Republican Party please, *please,* PLEASE DISAVOW this twit? He's making the entire American political process a bloody international laughingstock!

    May 29, 2012 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  4. mdn

    Carnival barker, bloviating ignoramus...Donald Thump!

    May 29, 2012 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  5. dowdotica

    ...the DOn? What a tool. Sure wish i could so p!!ss rich and act like a complete cretin...lol Can't we just run all of his ilk out of the country? Send them to syria or somthing...

    May 29, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  6. annebeth

    Donald Trump would be in the same position as Obama when it comes to birth records and a parent that is not of US birth. Trumps' mother Mary Anne was born on the Isle of Lewis, off the west coast of Scotland, but funny how Scotland is more acceptable than Kenya. Trump never mentions that his mother was an immigrant and I also wonder if she was her legally?

    May 29, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  7. NoMoreLies

    If Obama's mother gave birth to him on the lap of the Lincoln Monument itself and had a video to prove it that would not change the fact.
    OBAMA IS NOT AN AMERICAN. Not in the eyes of our founders. HE IS UNAMERICAN!

    May 29, 2012 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  8. Shifter

    Trump is like herpes. Sometimes he disappears, but he never goes away.

    May 29, 2012 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  9. opinion8it

    First of all - NICE JOB WOLF!!! Thank you for putting Trump in his place. I'm sorry, but Trump had it coming and Wolf did not back down. If Trump can say things that are unfounded about the birthplace of the president of the US and pretend that they are true, then where does it all stop? Whether he comments on China or unemployment; one has to wonder how much information he's making up as he goes along. Trump has lost all credibility amongst Americans and if Romney knows what's good for him, he would stay far away from him.

    May 29, 2012 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  10. Edward

    Oh my, Trump has out done himself this time. You had more than your 15 minutes. Bye bye.

    May 29, 2012 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  11. dnick47

    Trump is an ego maniac. The more you feed his hyped super ego the bigger and bolder it gets eventually he'll go into a feeding frenzy of some kind (like Mel Gibson) and shot his mouth off once too many times blowing his foot clean away. I hope it happens in October, 2012.

    May 29, 2012 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  12. annebeth

    Donald Trump would be in the same position as Obama when it comes to birth records and a parent that is not of US birth. Trumps' mother Mary Anne was born on the Isle of Lewis, off the west coast of Scotland, but funny how Scotland is more acceptable than Kenya. Trump never mentions that his mother was an immigrant and I also wonder if she was here legally?

    May 29, 2012 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  13. escher7

    I am quite certain Trump's hair was not born in America.

    May 29, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  14. DanW

    It was reported in the headlines of a major newspaper that Dewey had beaten Truman. Thus Dewey was president. Earlier, a newspaper published an obituary of Mark Twain. Though Twain claimed that reports of his death had been exaggerated, the obituary had been printed and thus must be true. The sad thing about conspiracy followers is that once they find their "needle in a haystack", the needle is all they can see and they then go around denying the existence of hay. We deal with inconsistencies every day in our lives. Our success as humans derives from our ability to sort through the information we have, usually incomplete or inconsistent, and put it together in a sensible way. People who are unable to do this are thought of as "crazy".

    May 29, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  15. Angy

    trump is a racist. romeny is a yellow, spineless, lily liver liar. he doesn't have the courage to speak out against his racist backers. President Obama on the other hand gave an eloquent speak that renounced rev wright. romeny has yet to speak for himself. which shows he is ALL about the $$$$$$$$. how can anyone even think about voting for him? Oh I know they are TRUE rethuglian/teabaggers. Lets just say what they (racist) have been saying for the last for years. "Aint no black man goin' to tell me what to do". where were all these losers when busy was destroying this country with his lies. I have asked several times. what good did he do? he left us with 2 wars that were NOT paid for, there were NO weapons of mass distruction. the ONLY people to prosper were the very rich. Come people lets looks past the color of a man's skin and be honest that PRESIDENT OBAMA IS FOR ALL PEOPLE, NOT JUST A RICH FEW.

    May 29, 2012 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  16. apple pie

    Any party that would court the support of wingnuts like Trump don't deserve your respect. What is Mittens doing with such a door knob if he wants to be president? H'es got no integrity. Loser.

    May 29, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  17. Antonio Certo MD

    When one is dishonest, one thinks everyone is like themselves.

    May 29, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  18. scott

    Trump will say and do anything to keep himself in the limelight. Boycott his ridiculous show and hope that it gets cancelled.

    May 29, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  19. Joseph Smith

    Wow, Trump has gone completely NUTS.

    May 29, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  20. 21k

    yeah, but what did his hair say?

    May 29, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  21. Peter Barnard

    Trump is a modern day P.T. Barnum, it's all about the show.

    May 29, 2012 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  22. sftommy

    As Trump whose birth certificate his hair was born under?
    Was it an American's?

    May 29, 2012 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  23. Clyde Lemerle

    I lived in HI. The anachronisms and mis-naming of HI places on the latest WH certificate ALONE require explanation.

    May 29, 2012 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  24. Joseph Smith

    I love Trump's response...no, YOU sound ridiculous. What a child.

    May 29, 2012 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  25. Alabama Boy

    Romney, like everyone else, is judged by the company that he keeps. He would be wise to distance himself from Trump who is a complete idiot.

    May 29, 2012 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
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