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. Scott

    I totally agree! The man has filed for bankruptcy twice. Is he really in a position to give economic advice??

    May 29, 2012 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  2. jaimie

    lots of people do not believe it

    May 29, 2012 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  3. Why

    Why can't these CNN hacks listen to other people's views and stop trying to protect the one President that we've elected who many doubt is a ligitimate citizen of our country? Trump, like anyone else, has an opinion about Obama and there are many who believe the same as he does.

    May 29, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  4. @RainCityLady

    Again, WHY do legitimate new media give the Donald a platform to spew his nonsense? He's not a politician; he's not in the race; he's not even believable as a human being. Of course this whole birther thing is born of racism. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out.

    May 29, 2012 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  5. Ralph G.

    this is no big deal at all. we're talking about Donald Trump here, and that's hardly a subject to be taken with any degree of seriousness. It's too bad that news organizations focus on what will increase their readership rather than what's important, but that's just the way it is at the moment.

    May 29, 2012 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  6. Tony

    Sounding ridiculous does not stop today's Republicans. Only an electoral drubbing does. Good news for Wolf and the rest of us, Republicans will receive the drubbing that they so richly deserve on November 6.

    May 29, 2012 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  7. Paul Barnhill

    It is getting a little embarrassing to listen to Trump. As much as Obama has indeed damaged the country, and as much as we need to vote him OUT in November, Trump and the "birther" sect are NOT helpful. Trump listens only to Trump.

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

    The senate wouldn't have allowed obama to be president if he wasn't born in country the supreme court wouldn't have allowed it either, the fact that the supreme court hasn't even heard arguments for this case is because its a fabrication and there is zero evidence to back up these rediculous claims.....in all honesty it just stems from racism within the extremist republican party....its a shame mitt romney isn't decent enough to address yhe rediculousness in his own party

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

    A lot of people don't believe in evolution. A lot of people don't believe in tectonic plate movements. A lot of people don't believe in climate science. A lot of people don't believe in the big bang....

    May 29, 2012 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  10. Birdwatcher1

    Trump and Mittens – both bullies of the highest degree. America, are you paying attention?

    I think Mittens is psyched that DT is saying what he is – they are in full agreement, Mittens just wants to look like the "good guy" by repudiating it. This is carefully architected.

    May 29, 2012 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  11. Craig from Pa.

    I know a lot of Army brats that were born all over the world.....Tehran, Athens, Frankfurt,Weisbaden,Paris, Verdun, Oslo, London, ...aren't they citizens??

    May 29, 2012 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  12. SD

    Why are you even interviewing guy like this who has ripped Americans and he's talking about China and OPEC ripping us off. When you have American citizens who're earning billions of dollars by ripping off middle class AMericans, why would you trust him. Its is ridiculous for CNN, matter of fact any news organization to even interview these types of people instead of focusing attention to the massacare being carried out in Syria.

    May 29, 2012 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  13. Pat

    Romney is really blowing it by not discrediting Trump. And one is an American if born to a citizen of the United States. Not that there is a parallel, but did anyone question McCain being an American despite having been born in Panama?

    May 29, 2012 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  14. Charles

    So, just to be clear, Donald, what evidence would you demand of Mitt Romney that he was born in this country, and then can you honestly say the same level of evidence applied to Obama would satisfy you?

    May 29, 2012 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  15. Mike

    Nothing new to see here folks. Trump"s from an alternate reality and Romney will do and say anything for a chance to be President.

    May 29, 2012 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  16. Mike H

    Trump is a crook. Everyone he does business with regrets it. Bankruptcies, broken contracts, lies and nonsense.

    May 29, 2012 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  17. Mieke

    Can the media please stop paying attention to the Donald? Don't we have more important issues to talk about?
    He states that CNN does not have enough viewers. I have been a CNN viewer for as long as I can remember but If I hear too much more of Trump nonsense on CNN, I will stop watching myself.

    May 29, 2012 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  18. martin

    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.” –Bertrand Russell

    May 29, 2012 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  19. Name Pamma

    Where there is smoke, there fire.

    May 29, 2012 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  20. blackbeard79

    Sure, Trump sounds ridiculous, but that's for the viewers to decide, not Wolf Blitzer. At least call it commentary, and not a news show. RIght now, it looks like Blitzer's trying to make himself the story.

    May 29, 2012 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  21. Donnie the Lion

    If you know anything about government vetting, you know this was a dead issue when Obama was running for the Senate. There aren't as may conspiracies and coverups as people like to believe. I was in the thick of it.....the government is 99% paper pushers, mostly well-meaning but obsessed with not being attached to anything controversial. If you really think there has been a Chicago/Hawaii/DC coverup about Obama's birth, you are giving government officials credit for an ingenuity that does not exist.

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

    Donald Trump is proof that intelligence is not a requirement for wealth.

    May 29, 2012 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  23. ric

    we might have to ask for Romney birth certificate, he might be an anchor baby. His dad was in Mexico we don't know if the certificated is authentic.

    May 29, 2012 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  24. blackbeard79

    Sure, Trump sounds like a moron, but let the viewers figure that out for themselves. This is commentary disguised as "the news", and it seems like Wolf Blitzer is making the story about himself, not the election.

    May 29, 2012 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  25. Vic in VA

    Clinton, I couldn't agree more.

    May 29, 2012 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
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