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. Bill Harper

    Romney's courting of Trumps support inciacates his priorities are with big business money interest. Just think if Romney
    becomes president, Trump would pobably be nominated for Secretary of State.

    May 29, 2012 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  2. steuben

    New Yorkers, like myself, have long ago learned to ignore the nonsense from Donald Trump (and Rudy Giuliani). They're successful in their own particular areas of expertise and that's it. After both men appeared on the national stage, it's disheartening and disappointing to see others treat what they say as authoritative and accurate; it's neither.

    May 29, 2012 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  3. Matt

    Well, Joe Arpiao's investigation into the matter did find dissimilarity in the birth certificate provided. Of course that story was short lived on the CNN headline news though.

    May 29, 2012 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  4. SherryLane

    "China (sic) is taking our jobs and taking our product and manipulating their currency so it makes it almost impossible for our companies to compete."

    The American CEO's who closed their American factories in order to produce goods in China have no one to blame but themselves.

    May 29, 2012 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  5. BlueDogTexan

    It's going to be an ugly campaign. Surrogates with enough money to buy air time and put utter nonsense out there in hopes that it'll stick. But this particular topic smells so bad that even Republicans HAVE to be realizing what a pig in a poke they are being asked to assimilate.

    May 29, 2012 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  6. Chris

    There are plenty of reasons not to re-elect Obama...I don't know why more people aren't simply highlighting all those things but rather making this the issue. Unless, certain media figures such as Wolf, are trying to paint conservatives as all crazy.

    May 29, 2012 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  7. Leigh2VA

    Doesn't really matter if the President was a natural born citizen or not at this point. In my estimation, the mainstream media did not properly vet him as a candidate, so now he's the President ~and might be re-elected ~ but it will be the same deal. This birther stuff will go nowhere. However, wait and see, the MSM will go after Mitt Romney on this issue and question his status. I care for neither Obama or Romney. I will vote for Cthulhu (H.P. Lovecraft's main Mythos alien creature) because I'm tired of voting for the lesser of two evils. LOL. At any rate, term limits, people, term limits!!!

    May 29, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  8. TruthinATL

    Donald Trump is not subconsciously racist, he is overtly so. He sounds even dumber when you consider the fact that Obama's mother had never visited Kenya.

    May 29, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  9. Deb Baker

    Actually, I thought Trump made Blitzer look ridiculous for the simple reason that Blitzer introduced the topic.

    May 29, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  10. james addison

    the ironic truth about TRUMP is overshadowed by his false celebrity. Did he not threaten to run for president this year? I guess being born in the USA is not required for candidates, since he probably wasn;t born here either.

    May 29, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  11. 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...Trump/birthers are bigots..

    May 29, 2012 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  12. jONATHAN

    Why do the news outlets still give this guy the time of day?? Well, I know why. Because he is entertaining. But man he sure is a dip-doo. Makes you wonder how he ever made his money.

    May 29, 2012 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  13. Ramrod

    "Mitt Romney has 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."
    Mitt Romney and his ilk are shipping the jobs to China and are keeping their money in the Cayman Islands.

    May 29, 2012 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  14. Gregg

    Distraction, distraction, distraction, on both sides of the Isle.
    No one in the US knows how to fix our country, they all want to simply convince you the other sides plan is worse than theirs.

    embarassing to be a US citizen these days.

    May 29, 2012 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  15. Byron Findley

    Donald Trump. Who is he?

    He and his ilk have been trumped. Don't they understand.

    May 29, 2012 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  16. Electroguy

    I have an idea... lets let Obama's most open, honest and transparent administration release all this birth records, school records and everything... so we can have a good look at who Barry really is...

    May 29, 2012 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  17. Tr1Xen

    I agree with Wolf 100% on this one. The Donald sounds like a nut.

    May 29, 2012 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  18. NameKen

    I couldn't agree more with Kathy. Is this really news? Why do we keep giving him a voice? The media today is more concerned with ratings than they are actually reporting news. It's more like a reality tv drama! They know what they are doing stirring this pot up again..... CNN is acting like an idiot right along with Trump by calling this news! Who cares!

    May 29, 2012 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  19. Irina

    I can't believe how stupid Trump sounds. I thought he is smarter considering his success in business. Apparently, you might be smart in only one thing and stupid in others.

    May 29, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  20. Christopher P. Vaughan

    wait just a NYC minute...
    please do NOT misunderstand Donald Trump, pay no
    attention to what he says (even though he may
    believe it is the Gospel) for indeed the years have caught up
    with him

    he is one of the elite few on this Earth that truly believe
    that any offer by him can not be denied and... the Sun
    never sets on his vast empire

    CVaughan

    May 29, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  21. Paul Williamson

    The Donald loves to be the center of attention,creates fantasies out of whole cloth, and never,never admits being wrong-this clown has the behavior and maturity of a 6 year old – it is unbelievable that a grown man continues to lie and look a fool on public TV as in his interview with Wolf.

    May 29, 2012 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  22. fgh

    What does Obama have to do to satisfy these people? 2 papers reporting his birth in Hawaii the day of it happening is one long conspiracy! The answer is that he can't. Let the birthers hurt themselves and the Tea Party. If Trump doesn't cut it out he'll lose his show.

    May 29, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  23. truthman53

    Im really excited to see how Obama is going to explain his biography book that says he was born in Kenya. It was never published but it was there for 16yrs. Now they say its a mistake. LoL oh the irony of it all. Only Obama could have gave them this info.

    May 29, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  24. Tony T

    The hell with donald and all the looney conspiracy nuts...

    May 29, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  25. A conservatave with brains

    Once one realizes that Trump's ego requires him to be in the spot light, no matter how ludicrous the statements he makes to keep himself there, this all makes sense. Trump didn't make his own money. He was born into a rich family. His father was an extremely capable businessman who set up the company so that it would run itself, no matter what his rather dim offspring did. Trump, like Palin and Bachman, is making increasingly outrageous, unsubstantiated claims with the hopes that he will by some magic, become the right hand man of the leader of the free world. Not a chance. By making these statements, he is getting the vote of a small percentage of hyper-right conservatives, but losing a much larger voter base of moderate conservatives. If Romney picks a sane and moderate running mate, I won't have any trouble voting for him. If he picks Trump, and if he does not distance himself from Trump very soon, he will lose my vote and the vote of millions like me. The conservative effort to take back the White House will fail, and fail miserably. I am already doubting Romney's judgement. Being buddies with Trump is not helping.

    May 29, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
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