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. Al

    You know who also sounded ridiculous, Wolf. Why? He spent well over an hour talking about how Donald Trump doesn't believe Obama's certificate of live birth is real, while claiming Trump/Romney should be focused on "real" issues" (Jobs, economy, national debt, health care, etc.). Here's some breaking news CNN... you also do not cover "real" issues and spend your entire day trying to make Donald Trump look stupid, talking about Facebook and Twitter garbage, and other completely random topics you classify as news. I get more real news watching Comedy Central.

    May 29, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  2. PJ

    Hmmmm. Has anyone seen The Donald's birth certificate? Did his parents "mail in" a birth announcement for him? I think that's why he thinks the ruse is so common...

    May 29, 2012 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  3. Walter

    Wolf shows himself to be the idiot by taking the time to interview a person who is of zero interest to this country. Trump is a nothing, his opinions have no impact on this country or the world. Why not focus on larger issues like water scarcity and the conflicts it creates in this country and the world... something that has profound impact on all of us. My crap has more value than what Trump has to say.

    May 29, 2012 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  4. Name robert

    Sadly, because of his character, when mr. Blitzer, Wolf calls u ridiculous then your character is assassinated so mr.Trump looks bad.

    May 29, 2012 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  5. DG

    oooohhhhh CNN can't wait to see your response

    May 29, 2012 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  6. TommyBlackflag

    Sorry Don. No matter how much money you have, you still don't get to define your own version of reality. And the argument that "a lot of people think..." is no argument at all, especially in today's world where a lot of people are proud to believe a lot of nonsense.

    May 29, 2012 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  7. Ron Rizzardi

    I think The Donald should show proof that he was not born in Ireland and a subsequent US Birth annoucement filed. Lots of people did it it you know.

    Ok now you sound ridiculous. No, you sound ridiculous. No, you do. No, you do. I know you are but what am I? How in the world did this man ever become successful?

    May 29, 2012 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  8. Dan

    Honestly, I don't understand the ruckus here. If I were asked to produce my birth certificate, I have it here in a drawer in my bedroom. I'd hand it over within 24 hours. How many months (or years) did it take Obama to produce his? There's no doubt in my mind that the guy produced a falsified birth certificate. To think otherwise is pure lunacy. If it walks like a duck...

    May 29, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  9. skyking

    C'mon CNN! STOP giving ink and airtime to this airhead. He's simply become a blathering idiot who can't do anything but reiterate his birther nonsense. Give it up. America is not interested in Donald Trump. You are disgracing your network by allowing Trump this much airtime. Stop giving him press.

    May 29, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  10. Nina

    Oy vay...so Trump keeps marrying women half his age who are not born in the US...does that make him a wannabe foreign pervert....hey...that uses the same logic as his!!!

    May 29, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  11. J

    What a smear job by Wolf

    /end sarcasm, LOL

    May 29, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  12. Shelley Ann Burke

    Donald Trump, You show your ignorance when you talk on the subject of President Obama birth certificate. Stick to what you know and that is building Trump towers.

    May 29, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  13. Jalil

    Trump should join Jerry springer in his show

    May 29, 2012 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  14. Mia

    It's official. Romney had the backbone to stand up to no one.

    May 29, 2012 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  15. tracy

    Donald Trump isnt important and I just wish he would stop tanning he is hurting my eyes

    May 29, 2012 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  16. sbp

    "You're not allowed to be the president if you're not born in the country." Um, WRONG. Just ask McCain, born in Panama.

    Trump is the very definition of a blowhard. It doesn't bother him one bit that he doesn't know what he's talking about.

    May 29, 2012 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  17. john

    Why is this news? Why do you even cover this? You are covering some guys opinion that has no basis in fact. I think Romney is a pompous ass better cover that as news

    May 29, 2012 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  18. William

    Trump = Obama Hater

    May 29, 2012 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  19. Dan

    Donald Trump represents what is so wrong in this country. He is a financial terrorist. Donald may be born in America and can wave his U.S. birth certificate in the air proclaiming he is an American, but that does not make him a patriot to this country.

    Donald has the audacity to question President Obama's citizenship and patriotism and yet, this worm has filed bankruptcy so many times that the average person could not financially file that many times in their lifetime. Do we hear anything about Trumplless's bankruptcies? Rarely. Hairhead is out to keep his wallet thick.

    I used to think he was ok until I started looking at his bankruptcies. Google how many times he has filed bankruptcy and how much our tax dollars kept his wallet fat.

    President Obama has done so much to undo the damage that has been done from the former presidency. He has accomplished so much and yet, some do not want to give him credit of his successes. Question our president's patriotism or his citizenship, but where is Sadam Hussein, Osama Bin Laddien and so many other terrorists?

    I'm so sick of people with fat wallets and mouths trying to cause more turmoil in our country when we should be working together as citizens, patriots, and just plain good people to build up this wonderful country.If the man who likes to say "you're fired" can call President Obama unpatriotic or say he is not a true American citizen, he might want to look at who paid for his bankruptcies. As a taxpayer, I find Donald an offensive and unpatriotic so-called American. I would have to say to him, "you're fired!"

    May 29, 2012 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  20. AllrightyThen

    Facts:
    1) The FBI, Secret Service and NSA have all vetted President Obama as born in HI
    2) If you know more than these agencies (that he was not born in HI), you need to contact them immediately
    3) HI really is a state (really – it's for real – Google it)
    4) If you really are struggling with the fact Barack Obama is President – the solution is simple. Do what many did when the former Texas Govoner Bush Jr was in DC the previous 8 years – never refer to him as our President!
    5) If you still are a birther and none of the above sits well with you – try tin foil... amazing how much clutter and radio noise it buffers out

    May 29, 2012 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  21. bak

    Nice job CNN not mentioning him bashing you over your lousy ratings, which is the most accurate thing he said during the interview.

    May 29, 2012 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  22. Sue

    Romney just lost my vote.....Romney wants the money Trump can feed into his campaign along with the Billionaire Adeleson that funded Gingrich.....but Trump ain't going to just hand out money he's giving Romney money so he can be in the spot light and buy his way so he can speak at the Republican Convention.......it's all about money folks, so if you think Romney cares two hoots for you and me or this country your going to be badly fooled......he cares only for the rich and making himself and the rich even Richer........

    May 29, 2012 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  23. Ann

    Kathy, I agree. Trump is ridiculous. I can't believe people listen to him. Only for attention. Thanks Wolf.

    May 29, 2012 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  24. Jerry

    Seeing how his first term is almost over, what difference does it make anymore? If Trump feels that strongly, hire some agency or whatever to thoroughly investigate. Trying the matter in the press is getting "ridiculous."

    May 29, 2012 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    I think president Obama is afraid of Donald Trump; that's why the birth certificate FINALLY appeared only AFTER the Donald made a stink about it... because Barack is AFRAID of Donald Trump. Why is that?

    May 29, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
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