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. skarphace

    In summation, Trump said, "Over here! Look at me! Me, me me! Give me more attention! Forget about Romney and Obama for a second. I am much more important!"

    May 30, 2012 02:42 am at 2:42 am |
  2. Viking59

    Please, someone set Trump sailing on a dinghy so he can prove Christopher Columbus wrong, as indeed the world must be flat. The world will be a much better place when he falls off.

    If this will not prevail, please keep him away from the media for it seems he has nothing to say that does not serve his own need of hearing himself speak. He has become nothing more than a yammering sphincter.

    May 30, 2012 03:06 am at 3:06 am |
  3. Brian Ellis

    Wow. I respect you, The Donald, as a business man, an inspiration, and a leader of people...You've inspired me, time and again. But if you REALLY believe this, and it's not a calculated play for publicity, then you, my bro, are pathetic. If it's a publicity play, rock on. But if you are genuinely buying in to this crap, you're not as intelligent as I've always imagined you...and...YOU'RE FIRED!

    May 30, 2012 03:16 am at 3:16 am |
  4. Anonymous

    Romney and Trump – Imagine them being President and Vice President standing together in the White House and issuing
    idiotic orders – Now just imagine what kind of heads of state they would attract – Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Chavez of Venezuela, and Bashir of Sudan amongst others. And then imagine Trump starting a war with China over trade and jobs!! This would be lunacy at its best – Would make George w look good!!

    May 30, 2012 03:19 am at 3:19 am |
  5. OBAMAROCKS

    Mitt Rumpney has pretty much sold his soul for a buck & the presidency! But, the funny thing is, he did it for NOTHING....He will not win this Nov.!! ~I feel sorry for Mitt because he has no class like his father. He has the money, so now he wants the power...SCAREY! He will pal around with whoever, lie on whatever, to end up NEVER becoming president! ...SAD! ~OBAMA/BIDEN 2012!!!~

    May 30, 2012 03:29 am at 3:29 am |
  6. Observer91

    Blitzer should've just ignored this idiot. We all know that President Obama was born in Hawaii. It. Is. A. Fact. Get over it birthers and move on with your lives, if you have one.

    May 30, 2012 03:37 am at 3:37 am |
  7. Whatever

    So.....bout that 50.1%....think that's getting closer or further with this Rmoney?

    May 30, 2012 03:38 am at 3:38 am |
  8. Dave in Arizona

    "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."

    Wow. So in one broad stroke he admitted he doesn't care who supports him or what they believe, so long as he gets their vote.

    Any moral person draws the line somewhere. McCain did, and that alone made him a much better candidate than Romney will ever be.

    May 30, 2012 03:39 am at 3:39 am |
  9. Jerome

    I'm sure that Blitzer saying he sounded ridiculous just ruined Trump's day.

    May 30, 2012 03:55 am at 3:55 am |
  10. Oh Say can you see

    "a lot of people do not think it was an authentic certificate,"

    "a lot of people think TRUMP is relevant"

    May 30, 2012 03:59 am at 3:59 am |
  11. maltytasker

    Why do Republicans continue to put up with buffoons like Trump and Limbaugh? Money? Power? Laughs?

    May 30, 2012 04:07 am at 4:07 am |
  12. jake

    I just bet the birther people will cry foul and say that Obama wants to start a class war when people demand for Romney to releae his tax returns. Maybe loud mouth Trump will quiet down if his returns are also questioned. These people make millions and yet end up paying less taxes than the rest of us. Romney has asked the IRS for an extension hoping that the issue of his lower tax burden will not come up during the presidential race. The extension is only until October, but I bet he will find a way to extended past the election. Obama showed his birth certificate, it is time for Romeney to show his tax returns.

    May 30, 2012 04:13 am at 4:13 am |
  13. Nurul Aman

    Well, no surprise to hear that an ignorant, uneducated person like Donald Trump will never back down from his racist comment and not backing down from his undisputed racist behavior. I like to ask Trump to check on Mitt Romney's birth certificate as well because his father was also born in Mexico, not in the US. Why is he not questioning the authenticity of Romney's birth place? Is it a coincidence or just continuation of racially motivated campaign. Why doesn't Romney reject Trump's support for Romney's campaign? If Romney doesn't denounce Trump's racist birther comment about Obama, I would call Romney a supporter of a racist like Trump. So, it clearly implies that Romney's acceptance of Donal Trump's endorsement makes Romney a racist as well (Romney's one of the sons had demanded Obama'c birth certificate as well). I have a news for both Trump and Romney: Racism has no place in America. So, if you folks play the game of racism, please get out of this country and move to Pakistan, Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia and lead the racism and bigotry there, not in America. That is where you both belong.

    May 30, 2012 05:08 am at 5:08 am |
  14. Greg C.

    Anyone with a half a brain could see that the birth certificate is a forgery; regardless, it's a distraction; I'd much rather have the focus be on substantive issues.

    May 30, 2012 05:12 am at 5:12 am |
  15. FalseLeftRightParadigm

    "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. "

    A 17 year mistake!? From 1991 – April 2007?

    May 30, 2012 05:12 am at 5:12 am |
  16. miamimike

    Donald Trump is a very smart guy, but he's also an idiot. Of course you never know if he just says this outrageous stuff simply to boost his Apprentice ratings. In which case he is not an idiot, just a shamless manipulator.

    May 30, 2012 05:16 am at 5:16 am |
  17. michael

    It goes to show the stupidity of the Rommey campaign when they won't even deny Trump's dumb claim. We know why Trump is running his mouth, but Rommey is suppostly running for president. If this is who he stands with then the pick in November is easy and Rommey can go back to playing with the "birthers" in his multi-story garage in California.

    May 30, 2012 05:20 am at 5:20 am |
  18. Steve Fielder

    A person can be judged by the company they keep. That being said, Romney's close association with Donald Trump sure doesn't say much for Mitt..............

    May 30, 2012 05:21 am at 5:21 am |
  19. Alan Musgrave

    Congratulations to Wolf Blitzer for calling Trump's "birther" position ridiculous. It's about time CNN stopped presenting "balanced" presentations. " Here are both sides of an issue, you decide." For example, you need to have the guts to insist that the Earth is not less than 10,000 years old and that creationism or intelligent design should not be taught in schools. Anyway, I 've switched to PBS and Al Jazerra – less jazzy and breathless. I found out about Blitzer vs Trump on Huffington Post.

    May 30, 2012 05:27 am at 5:27 am |
  20. Joey Dalessio

    Mr. Trump is flashing us. That's at the least in poor taste but he wouldn't know. There are far more important issues where the efforts toward gaining progress needs no distraction. Mr. Trump cover up yourself, roll up your sleeves and go dig another hole, build a building, create some jobs and contribute to the economy in a proactive and positive way. This excavation has revealed nothing.

    May 30, 2012 05:40 am at 5:40 am |
  21. Guest

    Somebody really needs to beg Hillary to run because Obama is toast. Nobody wants 4 more yrs of this disaster.

    May 30, 2012 05:47 am at 5:47 am |
  22. Jerome

    Enough! Those of you that keep saying that he was not born in the United States, just admit that you don't like him because he is Black? That is all that this about. And now the Donald is showing himself to be nothing more then a well dressed racist.

    May 30, 2012 05:50 am at 5:50 am |
  23. Terry

    If Trump can't prove his theories he needs to just concentrate his efforts in another direction. He just sounds like a nutter more and more. There are plenty of issues that face this country that really need to be debated.

    May 30, 2012 05:54 am at 5:54 am |
  24. Alex in Bremerton, WA

    John McCain was born in Panama! And Romney's dad was born in Mexico!

    May 30, 2012 06:03 am at 6:03 am |
  25. JustSaying2U

    Romney should nominate Trump for VP, 4 more for 44, Obama 2012!!!

    May 30, 2012 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
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