May 29th, 2012
05:12 PM ET
6 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. Anonymous

    Obama could have made this a non-issue years ago but instead he paid to have all of his records clamped down including his college transcripts. The media was all over vetting George Bush's transcripts so why not Obama's?

    May 30, 2012 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  2. Tari Torch Sweeney - Shaker Heights, OH

    You know, if you keep on doing what you've always done, you always get what you always got.....NOTHING.
    Do you think it's time to let go of "news gathering" and start ignoring Donald Trump? I am sick to death of two days of Donald Trump and his birther crap. Why do you give him the attention? The man is so incredibly narcissistic...even to the point of overshadowing the guy he is trying to help get elected. For god's sake. And do you think Mitt's much better? I don't care which "side" you are on, some things are just so OBVIOUSLY ridiculous...and this is one of them, and Romney should say so. People like someone who stands up for their beliefs....Mitt's afraid to lose the money. That tells you something about how he will sell out if he is President. Oh, well, keep expecting it....and you keep getting it. Silly me.

    May 30, 2012 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  3. jimmy

    I am sick of Obama. He said he was going to run an open goverment and instead he has repeatedly lied either to us of in his book? I dont like this guy anymore and he is bad for usa. He drives hate!

    May 30, 2012 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  4. deke4

    Did I hear Trump say recently he was "smart"? Yet when queried about the authenticity or lack thereof of the Obama birth certificate, he gave no names, no proof, no nothing, When asked about a conspiracy being formed way back when Obama was born as proven in two birth announcements by separate newspapers in 1961, without anyone knowing that Obama would rise to the Presidency is the height of stupidity.

    May 30, 2012 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  5. Don

    Trump believes it because he can make money off it.
    The rank and file believe it because they can't believe they could have lost the 2008 election to a black man.
    Neither group needs any kind of proof to support their claim because their opinion overrides all facts.

    May 30, 2012 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  6. Crooked Bridge

    Media should set a standard that unless you can substantiate your claims, you will not be given an interview. Short of that, you are a nobody. Media's lack of journalistic integrity breeds these situations and has finally created a culture where you saying literally anything is treated as newsworthy. This is one major factor as to why our electoral process is nothing but a show.

    May 30, 2012 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  7. Mollybee

    This is a backroom deal similar to what many politicians practice. Romney stays on the up and up and Trump does the dirty work, Keep campaigning with Trump, Mitt, and with Gingrich, Bachman, Limbaugh, Rove, Murdoch, Norquist, Kochs and all those other "well respected" billionaire sound really funny when you try to identify with the "real" folk.

    May 30, 2012 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  8. RS, CA

    If Obama would reveal information about his past (i.e., educational records), the twit wouldn't get so much grief over the fact that he seems to have none, other than the bloated stuff about his mother.. Honestly, I'm sick of the "secret" Obama of his youth. What does he have to hide? Must be plenty not so good!

    May 30, 2012 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  9. D Spears

    Donald Trump and Governor Norquist have really brought down the Republican party and I would recommend that no one in politic’s associate themselves with either of them. I support President Obama, but having these two crazy’s on your team sure give the Democrat’s an advantage. I want to make sure the facts and policy’s decides the winner. Cut the crazy’s and negative stuff out – this is about our country and I do care about all the issues.

    May 30, 2012 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
  10. clarke

    I wish the media would just stop being bated by these people for a story..If this were all true about Obama, then I guess we should look to our government for not paying attention Makes me think how much smarter Obama is for pulling it all off. People need to get a grip here. You see this makes me cast my vote for Obama , not Mitt. Narrow minds do not make good leaders and that is what this group of people have.

    May 30, 2012 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  11. Paul

    I saw the interview. Trump has really lost it. Saying he has proof but will not give it. Hmmmm.

    May 30, 2012 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  12. Paul Jackson

    Will you all stop treating Trump as a special person. He's out for himself as he always has been. He knows nothing about real people or real life.

    May 30, 2012 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  13. Marc in Florida

    This is just part of the sleazy underbelly of rumor and inuendo against President Obama. Those responsible know they are playing to the stupid. It;'s sad that Trump would carry the flag for this nonsensicle birther issue. It has further tattered a dubious reputation for sleaze. As for Romney, I am hopeful he'll argue the issues. I always felt he was the best of the "R" contenders. Although I feel Obama should be re-elected, I am hopeful that the Romney effort to unseat him will be done with dignity. American politics needs to clean up its image. It may take two minority figures, Romney a Mormon, and of course Obama to take the high road. I am hopeful, it is long overdue.

    May 30, 2012 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  14. jaydee

    Glad to see the Donald supporting Mitt, this has to be the kiss of death.

    May 30, 2012 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  15. Ted

    Like him or not, Trump is 110% correct about China stealing our jobs, manipulating their currency and unfair trade practices. On the flip side we are also to blame for giving tax loopholes to corporations who ship jobs overseas, hire illegals and use H1B visas.

    May 30, 2012 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  16. Andrea

    I agree with Kathy. What is so special about Donald Trump that he is getting all this media attention. What makes him think he has the answers to what is going on in the world. If he is so sure Obama wasn't born in the US then he needs to provide 100% proof or drop it.

    May 30, 2012 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  17. rick1948

    Trump still having any notoriety on this subject is a testament to the fact that money should not be involved in politics.

    May 30, 2012 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  18. Jeff in TX

    Trump must have a new show upcoming. How much longer do we have to endure this garbage? The world is round, Donald.

    May 30, 2012 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  19. Epidi

    For someone whose supposedly so intelligent at making $ – when it comes to common sense, the more he talks, the stupider he sounds.

    May 30, 2012 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
  20. Marc Rape

    It's a shame that the last network I feel I can trust for news continues to keep Donald Trump in the spotlight. He's an irrelevent, unbalanced egomaniac – please stop giving him the time of day.

    May 30, 2012 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  21. bill

    Wolf Blitzer, you are da man.

    May 30, 2012 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  22. snowdogg

    "a lot of people do not think it was an authentic certificate," though he declined to offer names of experts who agree with him.

    and a lot of people believe that the earth is 6,000 years old – doesn't make it so.

    May 30, 2012 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  23. Jack V

    The problem is Trump OR Romney have never had to mingle with the everyday people. They're both from the upper crust. So they believe the average person is a moron. In fact, Trump statements prove this. And Romney is running a race to the bottom of the celebrity pool for his endorsements.

    May 30, 2012 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  24. George

    Obama is the one who proof read his book release press. Thus he is the one who stated he was "born in Kenya". So at the very lease he is a liar or could just perhaps he really is a complete scam artist.

    May 30, 2012 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  25. 2 interested

    This is so silly. Mr. Rich Trump, only donating supposidly $2000 to Mitts campaign. Mitt should tell him "hey Trump, your killing my campaign. Please shut up"

    May 30, 2012 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
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