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. Kathy

    If the media would stop acting like what Donald Trump has to say means anything, then perhaps the twit would shut up - it's all about the attention he gets. Honestly. I'm sick of hearing about him.

    May 29, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  2. Jason P

    Trump is a total fruit cake!

    May 29, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  3. DJ

    Why is the Obama team attempting to make Romney the fall guy in this?? Mitt Romney already stated he believes President Obama was born in Hawaii. Does the Obama team expect everyone who has notoriety to be condemned if they still believe this?? If it is a none issue what are they really concerned about?? There will always be some out there who will question what has been published. Why should Mitt Romney have to condemn what others may think, this is America everyone has a right to their own opinions.

    May 29, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  4. Vader

    Trump can, and does, say anything he wants. Absolutely. Does Trump understand the difference between "fact and truth" and "innuendo and lie"? Absolutely. The latter is the tool of the licentious, the former of the virtuous. Guess which one is the Donald?

    May 29, 2012 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  5. Pizza

    Wh did the Donald send investigators to Hawaii to prove Barack was born in Kenya ? ( It makes less sense than invading Iraq after 9/11 )

    May 29, 2012 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  6. Hank

    I guess this is what you do when you don't have a solution to what ills America, but you love her so.

    May 29, 2012 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  7. HelenR

    Sick of how much air time you are devoting to this story. Just changed the channel. You are empowering Trump by airing Wolf Blitzer's story over and over

    May 29, 2012 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  8. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Please don't shut Trump down let him keep making a fool of himself and Romney, he's sounding more and more like a desperate dillusional man. Donald's wives, wth the exception of one, are all foreign born but that's his problem and has nothing to do with Obama.

    May 29, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  9. Ghandi

    You, me, God and everyone else that is honest with themselves knows Obama is not a Natural Born Citizen and anyone that says other wise is either a liar or an idiot. The facts are the facts. It doesnt really matter where he was born, what matters is he was born of only ONE citizen parent thus making him a 14th Amendment citizen not a natural Born Citizen.

    May 29, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  10. Get A Clue!

    WHY is ANYONE listening to ANYTHING that this pompous, self centered carnival barker is saying?????

    May 29, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    In a prior CNN article Mitt Romney was belittling the fact that Barack Obama is defending himself, which Mitt is trying to suggest is a "picking on Mitt" defense.

    And at the same time Mitt is sending Donald Trump out to continue fueling the flames of stupidity against President Obama. This is what I call politics at it's ugliest - courtesy of Mitt Romney.

    May 29, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  12. Stephen in VA

    Geez. "Nuh uh. You're sounding ridiculous." "No, you are." Wasn't Trump busy threatening to sue Scotland last time we heard cray-cray talk from him like that?

    May 29, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  13. LG

    Trump is irrelevant. Why give him the time of day?

    May 29, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  14. suzibee

    I agree! Quit covering what Donald Trump has to say!!!!

    May 29, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  15. grive

    this just goes to show you how the republicans think. not all but most.this issue came up for 4 years ago and was disolved then, it didnt work in that campain and it will not work now, still looking backwards. just like trickle down economics, didnt work then and it doesnt work now. if you are always looking backwards you will never see whats in front of you. thats just commen sense and if the republicans would of had a presidential contender with commen sense they could easily win this election

    May 29, 2012 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "The crazier Trump gets, the worse it is for Romney, who doesn't have the courage to step away from him."

    Wrong. This has nothign to do with courage to step away. MITTENS WANTS TRAMP TO SAY THESE THINGS FOR HIM. There is absoltely no other conclusion to draw from Mittens' tacit encouragement of Tramp's nonsense and his acceptance of Tramp's help fundraising, which is generated in part by Tramp running around and saying this crap. His silence is not cowardice, it is part of his strategery.

    May 29, 2012 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  17. jurby

    Trumps was, is and always will be a moron. Trump is full of nothing but hot air and somebody seriously needs to muzzle him, wrap him in a white coat and toss him in a windowless rubber room.

    May 29, 2012 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  18. Anne Barraza

    Thank you Wolf. This exchange with Donald Trump further proves that the man is out of touch with reality and unable to let go of this bone to even discuss legitimate issues. He is and will continue to be a huge burden to Romney as time goes on. I am not a Romney supporter but I would strongly recommend to him – to distance himself from this wacko as quickly as possible. Doesn't The Donald understand that he is playing right into Obama's hand by continuing to beat this dead horse??

    May 29, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  19. Jennifer

    I am so tired of this fool beating this dead horse. I guess now that his show is off for the season, he has to find a way back into the spotlight. Ignorant clown.

    May 29, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  20. Jim

    I would like to see Trump's long form birth certificate. While he is at it, let's see Bush's, Clinton's, Bush Sr's, Reagen's, Carter's Ford's Nixon's, LBJ's, JFK's...oh wait that is being ridiculous.

    May 29, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  21. Larry in CO

    Anyone that believes in the "birther" crap really should have a mental health evaluation. The kind of conspiracy these idiots beieve in makes the most far out science fiction seem realistic.

    May 29, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  22. Martha in CF

    Why, I ask you did Blitzer NOT ABRUPTLY end that stupid interview with Donald Trump...I listened to about an eighth of that tape-it made me sick. It will interesting how Romney will handle this when the Trumpster can think he can run the show. Trump is arrogant and disrespectful. The news media should ignore him-oh, I am sure the looneys at Fox new will have him on......

    Obama/Biden2012--all the way
    And let's hope the redumblicans get what they are asking for–
    Middle class-get out and vote or we are no more!!!!!!!

    May 29, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  23. Richard1189

    A lot of people believe Trump is a sleaze, a charlatan, and a blowhard (have I left anything out). Thats a lot more believable than the birther claims!

    May 29, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  24. Tired in Columbus

    And a lot of people think the world was created about 6,000 years ago in six 24-hour days. That doesn't make them right, either.

    May 29, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  25. copanut

    Kathy said: "If the media would stop acting like what Donald Trump has to say means anything, then perhaps the twit would shut up – it's all about the attention he gets. Honestly. I'm sick of hearing about him."

    If Romney wasn't licking Trump's boots, embracing him in public, and fundraising with him, the media would not be giving much attention to Trump. Direct your ire to Mitt Romney.

    May 29, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
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