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. Phil muse

    Donald Trump is indeed ridiculous. Just because he is worth $2.9 billion as the result of his investments, he has the monumental ego to consider himself a celebrity and a pundit. That silly bloviator is only No. 128 in the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans, but he makes more noise than the 127 wealthier dudes combined. It's time for the media (at least those elements he doesn't own) to stop giving him so much attention. As a character says in "Citizen Kane," it's no great achievement to make a lot of money if that's all you want to do in life.

    May 29, 2012 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  2. Steve

    A lot of people think the world is flat, but we don't give them the time of day.
    So, who cares if a lot of people do not think it was an authentic certificate. How many is a lot of people anyway, 20?

    May 29, 2012 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  3. clark mogan

    America loves controversy.Whatever Donald Truump says, will be the gospel anyway. Think for yourselves, America!!

    May 29, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  4. b. green

    Trump is showing his colors as a moral and ethical pigmy!

    May 29, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  5. MeAgain74

    Romney needs to ditch this guy. This birther crap is so stupid! I cannot even think of the words to say on how ridiculous this is!

    May 29, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  6. zeke

    Trump da da dump da da dump dump Trump!!!! He's the "Tool of the Day".

    May 29, 2012 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  7. Max

    I love the Blitzer. Get in there, Wolf. You're my hero.

    May 29, 2012 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  8. David

    PLEASE stop giving this orange megalomaniac the publicity he is so desperate for. Its degrading for CNN to give him any airtime or to present Trump as anything but a clown. Lets get serious.

    May 29, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  9. tom

    trumps act gets a little old...

    May 29, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  10. Amazing

    We does the media continue to pander to Trump? All this is for nothing other than self promotion for his brand. As usual, he has not facts to support what is simply his misguided opinion.

    May 29, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  11. Charles A

    It is about time that reporters speak truth to power, especially when the person who is being interviewed is misinforming the general public with lies and misinformation.

    May 29, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  12. jerry

    oh gosh...on the birth certificate, where there is smoke there is usually fire. At this point if he were proven a fraud...well, what would they do about it then? Nothing. Just vote the guy out in November...he has failed and accordingly it is time to change horses.

    May 29, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  13. D T

    This is what i think of Donald Trump, Kim Kardashian and Paris Hiltion, Kim and Paris both open their legs to get attention and Donald open his mouth to get attention, and you do not want to get close to any of them while they are in act, because you never know what you might be catching.

    May 29, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  14. APF

    He is going to do to Romney what Palin did to McCain. The independent vote will get pushed almost completely to Obama again.

    May 29, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  15. Jackie

    I don't always agree with Wolf, but he was awesome against this blowhard, Trump. Trump says that 'many' people are dissatisfied with the authenticity of President Obama's Birth Certificate, This goes to show that there are other really stupid people around just like Trump. The Birth Certificate was authenticated by the REPUBLICAN governor of Hawaii, who was unlikely to verify something that was not authentic for a Democratic President. This non-issue is SO over. Move on, for pete's sake.

    May 29, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  16. Thomas

    Just a way for these right wing republicans to be racist against Obama being black, rather than owning up to the fact that they are. They are really frightened bullies that just have to hate someone different then them, but hey – instead, let's claim it is citizenship. I can't stand these people and I used to respect them. What happened to the republican party that I grew up with and always voted for?

    May 29, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  17. John

    He's Kenyan. I thought everyone knew that.

    May 29, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  18. Worried about the GOP

    I think this conversation with Trump is relevant because it is part of the GOP/Tea Party debate. They're the ones who opened this can of worms. They either need to distance themselves from it – categorically deny it – or embrace it as part of their argument and wholly acknowledge it. My old pastor said once, "you can't shake the hand of the evil one and say you were just kidding." They – Rmoney et al – need to 'man up' and own this one.

    May 29, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  19. Stevetundra

    Everything else in this country seems to be a lie. I'm sure Obama's birth certificate is too. And crazy part is that nobody cares about anything ... nothing rattles the public!!!!!

    May 29, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  20. TonyInLargo

    Ergo: Romney is ridiculous

    May 29, 2012 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  21. Name s kel

    Its time to dump Trump in the trash where he belongs.

    May 29, 2012 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  22. Patti

    Yes I sooo agree with all Romney must distance himself from this blow hard jerk

    May 29, 2012 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  23. Jared Bradshaw

    I love you, Wolf, but where there's smoke, there's fire. Something's not right about a man with the middle name "hussein" in the White House. Don't get me wrong. I can't stand donald the duck, but I'm one of those who thinks this presidency is an obamanation.

    May 29, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  24. DG

    I am in agreement with Mr. Trump.... He is a very educated and knowledgable man. He would not spout facts without being able to back them up,.

    May 29, 2012 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  25. kddyfl@sh

    Sad how this site takes sides by publishing a link to POTUS "fight back report attack" site. This is 40's Germany my friends. Silence those you do not agree with while blatantly pushing YOUR agenda. Way to go blo cking accounts with those who do not agree with your politics.

    May 29, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
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