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. bertyaw

    Wolf is a nice guy but a voice of the politic.... and i do not know if he even realizes it!

    May 29, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  2. AJ in CT

    So how about he says who the " A lot of people are..", and how about he gives example of "A lot of people did that"?? Huh? I'm with Kathy, how about you tell him to shut up and play his bankruptcy games to make more and more money like Romney did with so many people's lives and their families? Give him no more coverage and he'll slide back under his slippery rock.

    May 29, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  3. Tracy C

    I agree with the last poster. No more about Trump. He has made himself irrelevant and silly – once again.

    May 29, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  4. Tony T

    conspiracy "theories" never end..

    May 29, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  5. GOP circus

    Trump likes to run on at the mouth and be the center of attention. Every time he has been asked to reveal the 'evidence' that he has found, he changes the subject. He has nothing. He is nothing.

    May 29, 2012 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  6. Joel Miller

    There's a guy who wanders up and down my street swearing to himself who also is full of whacky opinions. Why not interview him?

    May 29, 2012 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  7. Jay

    Wolf sure has it right!

    May 29, 2012 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  8. Tubby the Tuba Texas

    Trump who has filed three bandruptcies leaving the tax payer to pay for his mistakes...and NOW that he is making money, he pays NO income tax like the rest of us middle class people. What a real loser! He is hanging with the Republican party. What does that say for the Republicans.

    May 29, 2012 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  9. Winston

    I'm surprised and disappointed with Wolf. I wish all of these so-called reporters would get out of Obama's lap and hold him accountable on some level. The old "fifth estate" would have left no stone unturned until they unearthed the truth regarding a candidate's eligibility to run for office. They certainly would (and do) with any Republican candidate. For a newsman to call anyone who voices their opinion "ridiculous" is a sad state of affairs, and very telling about how twisted their perspective has become.

    May 29, 2012 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  10. Rlg

    It appears Donald Trump is calling the government of Hawaii a bunch of liars. Give it up already and go onto another subject.

    May 29, 2012 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  11. Jim Weix

    Didn't the Republicans learn anything from the last election? The birth place "debate" and other such useless issues mean nothing to the millions of people that are unemployed, losing their home, or victims of the massive bank and Wall Street fraud that the Republicans allowed to happen.
    Instead of addressing the real issues, the Republicans are chasing "Obamacare" and birth certificates, while the middle class continues to be destroyed.

    May 29, 2012 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  12. John Kaufman, Oceanside, CA

    For all you Obama lovers out there, please answer me this quesition, "Why was it such a secret and hidden fact that it took the Obama adminsitration to come out after many years as to this question with the answer as to proof of his birth in Hawaii?" Why the big hush-hush? Oh I forgot, it is all Bush's fault! A leader never blames others, a real leader takes responsibility and moves foward with solutions. Obama is not a real leader, only a typical Chicago politician with threats, bullying, and a deflection of facts.

    May 29, 2012 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  13. Ellen

    Donald got what he deserved. Wolf made him sound like a fool. That's what happens when your ego gets in your way.

    May 29, 2012 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  14. TexDoc

    The birther thing is just silly, and I'm voting for Romney. Its water over the damn at this point, he's been president for four years.

    May 29, 2012 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  15. Randy, San Francisco

    Keep this story on the front page. Anything that takes away Romney's focus on the economy can only help the president.

    May 29, 2012 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  16. MikeB

    It got us to look at how Wolf is suckered into keeping the nonsense alive.
    Oh, where are Obama's college transcripts and where are Romney's last 10 years of tax returns? Oh wait, now I sound like a Birther. Same difference; same derision.
    Wolf, where are Obama's college transcripts. Oh wait, that would make you sound like a Birther.
    News reporting? No, Wolf is just playing the narrative of the Obama camp. And it may just be Wolf crying wolf.

    May 29, 2012 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  17. kishor

    I honestly wants Romney be our next president, but if he continue to backed by this joker, whose ridiculous statements not only help Obama,as well the loss for Romney will be worse than Mccain.

    Media please stop giving attentions of politician to the arrogant reality showman.

    May 29, 2012 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  18. What a waste of space

    Didn't he claim to have proof last time he used this for self-promotion?

    May 29, 2012 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    I second that, Kathy. He loves himself and probably believes others should too.

    May 29, 2012 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  20. Dmswanee

    So in anticipation of winning the presidency in 2008, you're telling me Obamas parents filed a birth announcement? That's redickulous

    May 29, 2012 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  21. carlos

    the defining caracteristic of a dictator, a tyran is their fundamental believe that they know what is best for the people, And they don't care if the majority thinks differently, they think they know better.
    A democratic president is supposed to represent the ideas of a group of people, Not impose his ideas on the people.
    When Barack Obama said to the Russian Vicepresident that after the elections he will have more flexibility, unveils his true nature.
    A dictator would lie to get elected and then do whatever he thinks is best for the people. That's is not the job of a democratic leader. The job of a democratic leader is to be transparent about his ideas even if that makes him loose.
    BECAUSE the point of democracy is not winning or loosing, Is representing your ideas, although they might have small support. Although they might be supported by a small group of people.
    When the press says, OH that politician shouldnt express that idea because he will not get elected, they should be ashame of themselves.

    May 29, 2012 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  22. Paganini

    Two kings of bankruptcy...two kings of outsourcing jobs. Read up on Donald's financial history from about 1985-1997, because it's amazing how many millions of dollars he screwed people out of in NYC and elsewhere. These two really should be running mates. Romney/Trump 2012. Please, please, pretty please.

    May 29, 2012 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  23. G.

    Please correct me if I am wrong, I do not claim to be any kind of expert on this but I thought since his mother was American, it doesn't matter where in the world he was born (U.S. citizenship through the process of acquisition.) He's an American, or at least American with dual citizenship if born in some other country other than the USA, right?

    May 29, 2012 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  24. Tom

    This is very typical of Mr. Arrogant. He only believes things that creates a "confirmation bias".

    May 29, 2012 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  25. Andrea

    I second that, Kathy. He believes everyone should agree with him.

    May 29, 2012 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
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