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. Daws

    Birthers have shown themselves to just be undemocratic, they're willing to disenfranchise millions of voters over a technicality.

    May 29, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  2. Robert

    Go Wolf!! This ridiculous birth thing needs to be called out for how silly it is. I applaud Wolf for not kissing up Mr. Trrump just because he is a famous land developer. And so Trump challenges Wolf about his show's ratings. Cheap street thug tactics. A no class act.

    May 29, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  3. A lone star

    I am sick about this Donald Trump. I wont vote for Mitt Romney because he licks Donald Trump shoe for money. How would he do if he become a US president when having no back bone.

    May 29, 2012 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  4. skarphace

    "As Republican nominee, John McCain stood up to the voices of extremism in his party." - from another article on the subject, which comments were closed.

    The fact is that McCain lost, due in part to his decision to do just that, be honest and stand up to the extremism within his party. Romney has taken a lesson from this, and will not stand up to them. Instead, he will embrace them. This is why the 2012 election will be much closer than the 2008 election was.

    May 29, 2012 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  5. Dindingwe

    News Break! CNN you all are the only network that I considered to be "legit" that will still give this idiot a pulpit to spit this nonsense. If you remove the mic he will only have FOX and Friends! No one takes Fox for real so he will eventually go and crawl back under his hair piece.

    May 29, 2012 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  6. Kelly Altenberger

    I find it very interesting that it's considered news when someone on CNN actually confronts political hypocrisy directly on the air. If CNN did this too often politicians would not come on the air because they would not be able to speak only in "talkiing points" and the people who hold Wolf's leash would show him to the parking lot and now allow him back on camera.

    May 29, 2012 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  7. quinLee

    Does anyone else get the sense that Romney is not in control. There definitely seems to be a lack of presence on his part. He never says anything new and there is no evidence of a decisions coming directly from Romney himself? He seems to be more of an opportunist than a leader.

    May 29, 2012 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  8. browncoat

    Why are they not showing the Obama released birth certificate? Instead they are showing us the Certificate of Live Birth which Obama's Indonesian born sister and Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong both have.

    May 29, 2012 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  9. Aaron

    Any qualified candidate who is a citizen of the United States should be able to become the president of the US regardless of where s/he was born. 13% of current United States population is foreign born. And it is only going to go up. The moment a person accepts US citizenship s/he should have the same rights as any other US citizen otherwise it is discrimination. Only merit should matter.

    May 29, 2012 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  10. Sam J

    In other news, Donald Trump has claimed that he found Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) in Iraq. Appearing in Fox News, Trump discredited the fact that no WMD's have been found in Iraq. "My gut tells me so," he said adding "according to Stephen Colbert, there are more nerve endings around the gut than in the brain."

    Super Hypocritical Indignant Tea Sippers, Trump's Super PAC, immediately demanded a new investigation to reveal why US Troops were unable to find any trace of Iraqi WMD's. The group's spokesman Sayno Noway said that "WMD's are there whether the US military found them or not!" Later, Noway said that since "Donald Trump doesn't read any mystery books, he has no clue."

    May 29, 2012 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  11. T

    Seriously. Why is CNN interviewing Trump? What does he have to say that is relevant to ANY discussion? This man is a complete joke. He presents himself as a successful businessman, writes books on the subject. What has he done? He inherited a real estate fortune and lost it more than once. His father's rich friends bailed him out. The only thing he's ever done on his own is his casinos which have never made money. Huge ego, no skills. CNN, stop having this guy on. He's got nothing interesting to say.

    May 29, 2012 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  12. Kenny K

    The first question is: Has Obama's mother ever been to Kenya? Her travel itenaries and visa records should clarify that. I don't know why the media never ask Trump and other birthers to research that since they do not believe both federal and states' investigations.

    May 29, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  13. Willa-PA

    Sniffit...I could not have said it any better and want to post your statement again, hopefully CNN will read this and grow some,,,well, maybe not. Don't count on the media to do their job by putting an idiot in his place. Because, when it coes to the MSM, there si no such thing as "fact." Blitzer, the sniveling little weasel, should have kicked Tramp right off the godd-mn show when he called Blitzer ridiculous. Enough is enough. I would have been infuriated by that kind fo behavior from ANYONE if it were my show and I would've let him know it no matter how rich and supposedly powerful he is. His money going to protect him from a fist to the forehead? Grow a pair and speak truth to power, CNN. These jackholes will pollute our political discourse with lie after lie after lie, fabricating the most outrageous nonsense they can come up with BECAUSE THE MSM GIVES THEM A FREE PASS AND THEN DISCUSSES IT LIKE IT DESERVES LEGITIMATE DEBATE. IT DOES NOT. This kind of trash shouuld be given a thorough fact-check curb stomping, but instead, it's treated with kid gloves because they're so afraid of being accused of bias."

    May 29, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  14. geri sides

    I could care less what Trump has to say, he is not god, so what makes him think he is so right, sick of him!

    May 29, 2012 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  15. timothy

    People think Trump is an idiot Birther but he is not. He makes millions of dollars off idiot Birthers.

    May 29, 2012 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  16. Kenny K

    @Ralph

    Birth is not an issue anymore...now....where are his College Transcripts? What was his GPA...?
    --------------
    Why don't ypu ask all presidential contestants, or you just can't believe nonwhite can achieve that much?

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

    Ignorance

    Why does the media continue to give him airtime to display is his utmost ignorance and arrogance? Everyone who pays him attention and gives him space on the air to show off his ugly hairstyle and open his beak is actually sharing in his ignorance...Trump simply needs to be IGNORED!

    May 29, 2012 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  18. Nasrullah Mohammed

    Blitzer did great interview.... He nailed Trump many times... keep it up Blitzer...

    May 29, 2012 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  19. Helen

    If republicans are smart, they keep away from Donald Trump. He has a lot money but not enough brain. The guy has no class.

    May 29, 2012 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  20. Angie

    I was waiting for Trump to break out the "I know you are but what am I?" playground taunts. The man sounds like he never mentally made it past 5th grade. He can't pose an intelligent argument so he has to sling juvenile retorts. If Romney does win (and that's a long shot) we'll probably be treated to a "neener neener neener" from The Donald.

    May 29, 2012 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  21. c'mon---man

    Mitt Romney's embracing of Donald Trump as a surrogate will eventually have the same effect on his campaign as John McCain's selection of Sara Palin in 2008. Way to go Mitt!! But, John McCain has consistently confirmed for everyone his character and leadership qualities.

    Mitt Romney is consistently confirming his lack of character, and leadership abilities. Grover Norquist is licking his chops, waiting for the chance to control the puppet that Romney would be if he wins the presidency.

    May 29, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  22. Sunny

    "You're not allowed to be the president if you're not born in the country."
    Like John McCain? Isn't Obama a "natural born citizen" because his mother was?
    Isn't there a single person in Hawaii who saw the newborn baby?
    Back in those times, women who were visibly pregnant weren't allowed to fly.
    Didn't Obama's family ever run across his mother's passport?
    If he was born outside the US, he'd have needed a passport to enter - US embassies process those overseas.

    May 29, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  23. Frankie

    Once again Romney had an opportunity to show leadership by stepping up against the "birther king". He is no leader, he is gutless.

    May 29, 2012 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  24. t3chn0ph0b3

    Would have been better coming from Romney. Then I might actually have a little respect for the robot.

    May 29, 2012 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  25. sayer

    Trump is posturing for VP. God help us.

    May 29, 2012 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
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