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. Paula

    Thank you Wolfe, I was waiting for some to corner Trump and you finally did it. Trump was back peddling as fast as he could and became very vauge when you asked him for names. His comment about George Wills (whom I'm not real fond of) being "Loaded" at Merilogo at one of Trumps party's, was one of the lowest thing I have ever seen on TV. Trumps true colors came to fore and hopefully others will see just how immature, vile, and catty he is.

    May 29, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  2. DG

    Dear Kathy

    Are you going on your emotions or on facts?

    May 29, 2012 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  3. DemocarzyMan

    He is right. Obama was not an American.

    May 29, 2012 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    wow Donald, sounds like you had no argument really. We have enough conspiracy theorists floating around these days, give it a rest already. Sad thing is, people will still believe this nonsense no matter what

    May 29, 2012 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  5. Susan Tetewsky

    Thank you Donald. We are all refreshed and challenged by your unique point of view.
    Open mouth, insert foot.....repeat.

    May 29, 2012 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  6. Another white lie

    LOL, Wolf and CNN are looking like incredible idiots. Who cares? He had his doubts and they were disproved. We all have a right to free speech around here don't we? I mean, It is still a free country isn't it ?

    May 29, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  7. Luca spano

    This is one of the reason why we as americans we find our self in trouble when an intelligent person such as Wolf Blitzer interviews donald Trump. Whats the reasoning behind that?CNN wake up, and dont let this individuals get any air time for thier owen good.LS NY

    May 29, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  8. NauticalMan

    The sad thing is that Mr Trump is one of the saner people populating the GOP cuckoo's nest!

    May 29, 2012 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  9. Newmoon2

    Who really cares what Trump thinks? Is he in any way relevant to the 2012 election? He's not a candidate. He didn't compete in the primaries. He's not an elected official. He's just a rich guy who has filed for bankruptcy umpteen times and has an ego the size of Texas. If these media types would ignore him, perhaps he'd go away!

    May 29, 2012 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  10. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    The White House and some factions of the media are trying so hard to "program us" into thinking that this is a taboo/off-limits subject. (Gee, I wonder why.) Don't they realize that by carrying out obvious character assassinations against anyone who brings up the subject, they are just fanning the flames......Unless of course they know there really is something to it and they really do have something to fear.

    May 29, 2012 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  11. Harvey Wallbanger

    As much as I dislike Obama and would like to see him ridden out of Washington on a rail; the issue of his birth place has been settled. He was born in Hawaii.

    May 29, 2012 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  12. rob

    Good news that Trump has finally come around to Romney's side. Good news for the Democrats that is.

    May 29, 2012 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  13. JackW

    What little respect I had for Trump is gone.

    May 29, 2012 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  14. Kim

    Trump is no match for Wolf....not today, tomorrow or EVER!

    #team Wolf

    May 29, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  15. Stephen

    Trump is an irrelevant, egotistical nobody and, frankly, he lost his credibility long ago!

    May 29, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  16. Adam J. Boone

    Donald Trump is a very difficult person for many to understand. Yet, I cannot call him names. I know he likes being surrounded in controversy to promote his status as one of the eccentric rich. I don't know if he believes what he says, and it seems to be all stage play. If anything, his eccentric demeanor has made me laugh more than once. He's doesn't get on my nerves as I know he does so many. I wonder what this funny fellow is going to come up with next! Is he amusing himself at everyone's expense to see if anyone is fool enough to take him seriously? I can't tell but if I need a genuine laugh I listen to Donald Trump! I can't tell if he really doubt the President's birth place or its all a put on.

    May 29, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  17. rand

    ONLY 51 responses tells you what a BAD idea it was for CNN to put this as a headline story!! There sre SO MANY more IMPORTANT stories that people would RATHER read about than this irrelevant SQUABBLE!

    May 29, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  18. edvhou812

    Seriously. Aside from destroying the USFL and hosting some reality show, what has The Donald really done?

    May 29, 2012 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  19. Anas

    Is this guy under the impression that when Obama was born, his parents knew he was going to be president one day so they forged his birth certificate. Really America?

    May 29, 2012 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  20. Laura

    If this birther bs and Rev Wright didn't keep President Obama out of the White House in 2008, what makes these fools think it's going to make a difference in 2012? This is old news. It was crap then and it's crap now.

    Romney displays an embarrassing lack of character by not speaking out against Trump and this nonsense. Not exactly a trait you want to see in someone looking for your vote.

    As a side note to Donald; when your spray on tan turns your skin orange, you should really avoid the orange tie.

    May 29, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  21. Don Grimes

    Trump is an idiot, just like Romney.

    May 29, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  22. quinLee

    wanna bet by tomorrow morning the Romney folks will have suddenly found a way to ditch the Joker. Too bad Romney didn't have the moral compass or leadership capacity to avoid stepping into this cow pie. Hasn't he seen Batman-you can't make a deal with the Joker. He's an uncontrollable maniac.

    May 29, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  23. DG

    i am watching your blog for signs of bias as CNN is known for leaning to the left!!!

    May 29, 2012 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  24. Jack539

    Quit putting Trump on. He just likes to hear himself talk. He said the issue was over after the long form certificate was released. What happened to that?

    May 29, 2012 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  25. Carlos

    I really do know why the media gives Mr. Trump too much attention. Trump likes an audience to show off his crazy ideas, The media needs to focus on real issues. Obama's bith certificate is old story... let's move on.

    May 29, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
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