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. kcc

    The article briefly mentions the "mistake" by Obama's literary agent that promoted Obama as being "born in Kenya," but does not mention that this little "mistake" lasted for 16 years between 1991 and 2007, with the approval of Obama (all before he decides to run). While probably just positioning by Obama to sell books, it's recent turn up certainly shows that nobody vetted this guy before electing him, or did any digging into his past.

    May 29, 2012 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  2. nobody allowed to see his certificate

    If nobody is allowed to see it – the question is... maybe he wasn't born here.

    May 29, 2012 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  3. hammer

    Trump is like Buffet both are rich,one will not vote for Obama one will.The only one's who care about what they think is the right and left nuts.They will not get people to vote for or against Obama.

    May 29, 2012 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  4. Culture Is Your Enemy

    Hey Blitzer,

    Romney is not the Republican nominee yet. Get a life.


    May 29, 2012 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  5. Texas GOP

    trumps corract. obama born in iran or iraq. i tea party proude. i knows trumps dont lye. gets smarts and vote tea party prouds lik me.

    May 29, 2012 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  6. Pepou

    I wonder where Trump was born. Certainly NOT in the country. In my opinion he was born on Mars.

    May 29, 2012 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  7. a

    Left and right pretending to hate each other. yawn.

    May 29, 2012 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  8. Rob

    Actually, Trump is right. But people didn't put the announcements in newspapers because they were in another country. It is because they are from another galaxy. It is true. Look it up. They are everywhere. It gives them legitimacy to begin the slow process of taking over Earth. If we don't stop them they will suck us dry. It could be your neighbor, your postal carrier, even your kids bus driver. We need to start listening to Fox in order to truly find out the Answer.

    May 29, 2012 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  9. George


    I have deep respect for you as a journalist. I must confess that I am disappointed that you are still discussing this NON-ISSUE with this man when millions of Americans are unemployed. Instead of focusing on matters that affect USA and the world you have decided to dwell on nothing.

    May 29, 2012 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  10. Bill Harper

    Romney's courting of Trumps support indiacates his priorities are with big business money interest. Just think If Romney
    became president Trump would probably be Secretary of State!

    May 29, 2012 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  11. BunnyBunny

    This just tells me Romney has no core beliefs. He just wants to be president. Just goes to show you you can be stupid and be rich. Well, as long as you had a rich daddy to stake your claim and get you going.

    May 29, 2012 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  12. mcp123

    example of failed capitalism... Trump...the only way he has money is that he gamed the system and declared bankruptcy multiple times and re-leveraged.

    May 29, 2012 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  13. Sean

    This is in response to Paul, who had an articulate question. President Obama spent time as a child in Kenya. He did not say he was born there. That would likely have been your confusion.

    May 29, 2012 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  14. Detroit Ultraman

    I proclaim that Orangutan-looking Donald Trump to be irrelevant and fired! – His opinions are as weak & without roots as his bad hair, and as dopey as his caveman mug!

    May 29, 2012 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  15. Andrew Hall

    Liberal as I may be, it cannot be denied that Obama's long-form birth certificate has layers when opened in Illustrator.

    Matt Drudge claims this is because of the variant of optical character recognition scanning used; other sites claim that this was debunked, the certificate contains linked files, and is a forgery.

    May 29, 2012 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  16. mcp123

    "If the media would stop acting like what Donald Trump has to say means anything"

    The only thing that should mean anything to the media is that if Romney/Trump get in office... most Americans will be hearing "Your fired!" straight from the Donalds mouth.

    May 29, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  17. Shardik

    Romney/Trump 2012? Obama's best hope!

    May 29, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  18. rs1201

    Why is it that this issue cannot be put to rest? was Obama born in the US or not? I'm sure that the birth certificate that he has presented as evidence of his birth place can be authenticated or not. If not, then there's a problem that has to be addressed. If yes, then Trump and everyone who claims that Obama was not born in the US will have to keep quiet. Personally, I'm not sure of either side. There's a lot of stuff that goes on in the upper echelons of govt that would make our hair stand up and turn grey. So...nothing would surprise me.

    May 29, 2012 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  19. Joe The Plumber

    I wish Eddie Munster would go away.

    May 29, 2012 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  20. Jeff

    How do you drive a Teapublican crazy?

    Just put them in the Oval Office and tell them that Obama's long-form "Kenyan" birth certificate is in the corner.

    May 29, 2012 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  21. wingnutsearcher

    Romney is judged by the people he associates with–WINGNUTS!!! If Trump weren't as rich as he is, he would be locked up by the local cops who grow tired of his irrational behavior in public.

    May 29, 2012 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  22. Acaraho

    Either Trump's comb-over is insulating his brain from the truth or the dye job he does on his hair has filtered down and is slowly destroying whatever brain cells he still has.

    May 29, 2012 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  23. juju

    i dont believe in all of this nonsense i believ Barak Obama is a great and fearless leader who will do anything for our country!

    May 29, 2012 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  24. catsnake

    i agree Cathy!! Why do we even give him two minutes of "real" news time. the apprentice is the only thing he's good for and even that pretty much anyone could pull off. he has no style and isn't that smart even. truth is he didn't make all this millions on his own. he was born into tons of property and even found a way to bankrupt that so who the hell is he besides some loudmouth goofball who got bailed out many times! i say, and i already screwed up here, but we should all boycott every time this guy is on something and if no one clicks on him i guarantee no one will be showing him anymore!

    May 29, 2012 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  25. Howard Feinski

    It's pretty conclusive that his long form is a forgery, but I for one am willing to forgive him.

    May 29, 2012 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
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