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. John

    Romney is quite consistent in his approach to politics now and as a governor. Sways and speaks the direction that he thinks will please the maximum number of voters while pandering as wide as possible. He is still trying to fool all of the people all of the time. No consistent core values. No wonder many can't figure him out – he is a changeling. What a disaster if elected. Any other GOP choice would have been better.

    May 29, 2012 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  2. sally

    Donald Trump is an arrogant, publicity hound who means nothing to anyone with a brain. What he says is of no
    importance. If Romney can't distance himself from this ass, he's a sniveling coward who would be a disaster as
    president. Disgusting.

    May 29, 2012 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  3. Lake Erie

    I agree–Let only the Republican network, i.e., Fox, report on this twit. Let the rest of us get some relief from his asininity.

    May 29, 2012 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  4. ws84

    Hey Kathy,
    Money talks. It buys 'free' speech. Ask the SCOTUS.

    May 29, 2012 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  5. justmyopinion

    Ummm...So how "Many" times can a person say "Many?" Lemme guess...MANY!!! Donald Trump talks and talks and never says ANYTHING!!!

    May 29, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  6. angryoldguy

    Trump the Chump is the kind of guy who will say ANYTHING to get attention! All I want to say to the Donald is: "You're Fired!"

    May 29, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  7. Ken

    What a pompous a$$ Trump is! it's no wonder why he and Mitt get along so well!! They are a perfect fit.

    May 29, 2012 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  8. yonyo

    Ah, so this is where journalists are obligated to refute claims politicians make that are wrong. I was wondering exactly what it would take.

    May 29, 2012 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  9. BCW

    Enough Donald Trump! Let's boycott Trump on TV, Hotel, Casino etc. He is a disgrace of this country. He made us look stupid and uneducated. Please stop all Trump's news reports, CNN and other network! Of course, FOX News is happy to help Trump spreading lies and myths.

    May 29, 2012 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  10. kel

    Please quit giving Donald Chump a platform. This guy is nuts!

    May 29, 2012 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  11. AllrightyThen

    If you seriously believe the birth noise is a conspiracy – then you may want to consider that "they" are coming to give you a visit for saying so... after all, one freak show deserves an opposite yet equal freak show

    An alternative stance is why has not the GOP-controlled House brought forth birther fraud proof and begun impeachment proceedings? You know, the ones that vowed to end this Presidency... Think about it (or, are the GOP radicals in The House part of the conspiracy too?)

    May 29, 2012 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  12. kel

    John McCain wasn't born in this country. Just saying.

    May 29, 2012 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  13. luke,az

    Donald Trump is working for the Democrats.

    May 29, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  14. WhereIsPalin

    Ya gotta feel sorry for Trump. He can't tell the difference between reality and reality TV anymore.

    May 29, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  15. caeser

    I thought there were only 3 levels of feeble mindedness....but now there's "The Donald".

    May 29, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  16. Ed Sr of Dallas Tx

    Well......at least Obama wasn't born in Buffalo NY....that is a plus.

    May 29, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    What a sad day in American politics when Mitt Romney allows Donald Trump to publicly air what Mitt Romney wants said but is too chicken to say himself. By sharing a stage with Trump, Romney has all but endorsed Trump as his spokesperson, including everything Trump advocates.

    Some would term this "showing his true colors". They would be correct. Mitt is showing who he truly is, and the developing picture is offering quite a vivid narative of the man behind the phoney smile.

    He reminds me of Nixon - without the gloss over.

    May 29, 2012 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  18. Scott O'Canada

    "The Don" is an opportunist of the highest form, so he is merely talking because conflict sells tickets. Create your own hyperbole if none exists and people buy tickets. He's not even a "birther", It's just an avenue to facilitate the attention he seeks. So lets say we stop talking about him for awhile and see what he will come up with next.

    May 29, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  19. G

    Is China taking our jobs? Funny, I thought our corporations were giving jobs to China...

    May 29, 2012 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  20. marionjwayne

    So the White House is trying to get Romney to renounce Trump for this birther thing and while preeching about civility and decorum accepts $1 million from Maher because "we cannot be the arbitrator of every statement that anybody makes in the policy and political arenas.”

    Just when I think the left wing cannot possibly be more hypocritical, they surprise me again.

    May 29, 2012 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  21. Myra Manes

    If you are honest with yourself, you know Trump is right. Where there is smoke there is fire.

    May 29, 2012 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  22. Arthur Q. Finklebinder

    Trump is delusional and suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

    May 29, 2012 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  23. CRAIG

    Is that why Donald's parents put the announcement of his birth in the Queens N.Y. newspaper so the world someday would think he was born there & not on some other planet where he was actually manufactured?

    May 29, 2012 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  24. k

    birther disease is like a religion....any fact you present to these people has,in their minds,an explanation.....like my odd,religious aunt who when asked once....if the earth is only 6000 years old,how did marine fossils get to the top of the andes mountains....her answer? "god put them there as decorations...."

    May 29, 2012 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  25. Thomas

    Too many years of comb overs have damaged the Donald's brain.

    May 29, 2012 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
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