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. Wiley

    Obama isn't hiding his birth place as there's no doubt he was born in the U.S. What he is hiding is his "Elizabeth Warren" moment when he applied to college as a hip foreign-born student of the world. He allowed his publisher to pass him off as an exotic young man and he perpetuated that myth throughout his academic career. This is what he is hiding.

    May 30, 2012 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  2. REALLY?

    Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Donald Trump is a scary sociopath. Why he is allowed to have any air time is beyond belief. No contact, no attention is the ONLY way to deal with a narcissist. I am so tired of this nonsense. If Mitt Romney cannot stand up to someone like this, he is incapable of standing up to anyone. This one should be easy, yet he continues to "pal around" with nut cases like Donald Trump.

    May 30, 2012 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  3. VoiceOfReason

    Let's just hope that the vast majority of Americans will have more common sense than Donald Trump come election time.

    May 30, 2012 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  4. watcher

    WOLF: But Donald, you are aware that the governor of Hawaii who authorized the release of this birth certificate is not a democrat but a republican??

    TRUMP: I know nothing about it . . .

    WORLD: Exactly our point.

    May 30, 2012 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  5. Doc Ock

    Trump has become his own SNL parody.

    May 30, 2012 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  6. usualone

    If Trump had any credibility before, he lost it with this birther issue. Maybe it is old age? Dementia? He can be in the spotlight he craves without these types of foolish talk.

    May 30, 2012 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  7. Deej59

    God, listening to Trump's voice on this video is almost chilling. This guy is so far out in space it's incredible. He's been an embarrassment for a long, long time, and now he has become a millstone around the collective neck of the GOP. I'm not shedding any tears for the poor Republicans. Hmmm.... That's strange. The system kept rejecting "poor" and "Republicans" because they're mutually exclusive.

    May 30, 2012 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  8. Robert

    All this Trump news by C*N*N is just an attempt to divert news about Joe Biden – Obama's unguided missle.

    May 30, 2012 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  9. LJTurner

    Donald seems to have lost his sense of reality; he keeps confusing his opinion with the facts.

    May 30, 2012 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  10. shelou

    I thought you were smart Trump. You are missing out on many more hatemongering votes You could deny that there was a holocaust, too. Maybe get a whole new group of voters for Romney. What a missed opportunity

    May 30, 2012 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  11. Dennis Berman

    Trump-An American buffoon and embarassment to what this country once stood for – decency and fairness. He is just another bully with no backbone or character. History will not be kind to him, but when you got nothing else going for you, a clown like he is needs attention 24/7 and unfortunately the media of our times gives him the platform to shame himself.

    May 30, 2012 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  12. Tim

    I can not believe trump really beleives what he is saying, george will was right just because u have money does not mean ur smart. Give it up trump.

    May 30, 2012 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  13. Chutzpah

    Right... Repubs have done away with facts... only opinions exist.

    May 30, 2012 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  14. Chadl

    Too much money has driven Donald mad. He sounds like a crazy man. Message to The Don, birth certificates is true. The jobs were going to China well before Obama got into office. The economy is growing and it only seems to sputter when Republicans start that trickle madness. Neither side has never mad government smaller and they both lie. Basically it boils down to neither side has no ideal what they are doing but when things seem like the are improving its probably best not to mess it up and make changes especially when you have no ideal what the change will do and its being supported by something that is complete irrational. ie The Don. If I was Mitt I would ask him, please don't publically say my name your really not helping.

    May 30, 2012 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  15. RudyG

    Ironically, Obama now would probably love to bring up the birther issue every day. He's happy to have anything control the headlines other than the economy. And, CNN is happy to help him with every non-issue in the book! Meantime, the 15 million unemployed wait. And wait. And wait. For the economy to change.

    May 30, 2012 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  16. Shaysite

    Well maybe Stanley Ann Dunham didn't travel all the way from Hawaii to Kenya to have a baby. Maybe she was already in Kenya, working as an agent for the Mossad or the KGB. Maybe Barak Obama wasn't really her son. Maybe that's not really his name. Maybe the United States acquired Hawaii to allow more non-whites to have their children on American soil. Maybe Barak Obama is actually a space alien and so on.

    May 30, 2012 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  17. Sam

    I think the most interesting part of this interview was CNN's 20 year low ratings brought up by the Donald. Wolf has to admit, his defending Obama has absolutely destroyed CNN.

    May 30, 2012 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  18. janelle

    Really Wolf, the best you can do is the newspaper birth announcement? Those are submitted by someone, and then printed without any kind of verification. A newspaper birth announcement is no more proof that he was born in Hawaii than his literary agent's publication stating that Barak Obama was born in Kenya is proof he was born in Kenya. If a newspaper birth announcement is all you've got Wolf, it's time to call it a day and go home.

    May 30, 2012 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  19. Jeff In Oregon

    Wow, you republicans sure have a wacko party spokesman. You all are a joke and am not sure why you would hang your ignorance out for everyone to see. Very strange.

    May 30, 2012 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  20. Mary

    Donald Trump has developed a serious obsession with President Obama. It's not healthy. He sounds beyond ridiculous. He needs help.

    May 30, 2012 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  21. ginnyinco

    I want a big network show host to ask Trump if he really thinks the US Secret Service does not know for sure Obama was born in the US, and if they know he wasn't, why they would have him under protection – which started in 4/07.
    The host needs to do some studying on the agency, the power it has, etc.

    Obama has also had a passport, issued by the US State Dept, since he moved to Indonesia with his mother and stepfather, at age 6. That first

    May 30, 2012 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  22. oddjob2234

    What a horse's rear. Let it go. There are matters of importance to discuss, and the birther theory is flat out unsubstantiated and absurd.

    The president is right on this. Even if the conspiracy was fact, he'd STILL be right, because there is no evidence to back it.

    May 30, 2012 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  23. Marcus

    Wow... I really hate Wolf Blitzer now. He was really rude and biased. He wouldn't even let Donald speak. Whatever happened to fair and balanced news coverage?

    May 30, 2012 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  24. Lee Marks

    Does anyone besides me see this for what it really is?? Trump is desperate to divert attention away from the real issues by using his pathetic celebrity status to grab media attention and feed the fires of bogus hot-button issues which appeal to those voters who are foolish enough to buy into their shenannigans, thereby taking the focus off real issues and the fact that their favorite son, Romney, is seriously unqualified to run a country, let alone take control of his own campaign.

    Shame on CNN for giving this horse's a** airtime. Kudos to Wolf!

    May 30, 2012 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  25. tombot

    John McCain was born in Panama. Why didn't Wolf bring up that most salient fact?

    May 30, 2012 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
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