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. Doobie Wah

    Trump says that everybody has a right to an opinion.
    Then he tells Wolf to stop defending Obama.
    So Wolf doesnt have a right to his opinion ?

    May 30, 2012 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  2. 4 More Years!!!

    The fact that wing nuts on the right are getting so worked up about this non-issue again just goes to show how desperate they have become. It's actually heartening for us liberals to see!!!

    May 30, 2012 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  3. Gurgyl

    Because president's name is different he is talking like this-listen, most of the first generation kids born in America from India do not change names. Why should they? They say. They are right. Trump is silly nut.

    May 30, 2012 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  4. J

    Doesn't help when you have the Presidents own wife calling Kenya his home country. The "birther" issue aside though Obama is going to need to be ready for heavier criticism this time around than he got in 2008. In 2008 the media and everyone were just wrapped up in the hype and really didn't let any of his past issues bother them. This time around you can't get upset if those things (Rev. Wright, Bill Ayers, Acorn, etc) get brought up again when you pretty much got a pass the first. It's a Presidential election so don't cry to the media if some of it stings.

    May 30, 2012 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  5. Bob Ramos

    The literary assistant responsible for the mistake has apologized numerous times and gone on Fox, etc. to explain her mistake. Trump fully knows this but is just trying to get more media coverage which he misses. About the $1 million donation – That went to a Super Pac that by law Obama cannot have anyting to do with. The GOP fully knows this.

    May 30, 2012 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  6. Doobie Wah

    *** CalmerVoice

    While the birth issue is important, can any of you dems provide a list of Obama achievements? Why do you stand up for him? What do you expect from the next 4 years?
    Let's discuss this in a logical & civilized way.
    Why bother.
    You wiould ignore them anyway.

    May 30, 2012 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  7. J

    Why would Romney have to come out and denounce another's opinion? Is he going to need to do that with everyone of his supporters if they come out and say something the left and the Obama administration doesn't like? If its so far fetched then why is it even getting this much attention and bothering them? If the left is going to push Romney to denounce things his supporters say then Obama has a lot of apologizing to do himself. If the republicans decide to cater to whatever message the left wants them to give then they're going to screw themselves.

    May 30, 2012 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  8. Anonymous

    You're not allowed to be President if you're not born in this country? Then why was John McCain running? Trump is such a loud mouthed bully.

    Apparently George Romney WAS born in Mexico, begging the question "why could HE run for president"? One wonders what old George would think of his son embracing a birther defense against President Obama for being born in Hawaii when George himself ran for President as a Mexican born? Bit hypocritcal of Mitt Romney to allow Donald Trump to push the birther issue when both Mitt and Barack share the same "our fathers were born outside" scenario.

    May 30, 2012 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  9. Dave Winnick

    Trump's statement is entirely false. US law does NOT require someone to be born in the US to be President, but to be a NATURAL BORN CITIZEN. Obama's mother was unquestionably American. So, it is completely irrelevant where he was born. He is a natural born citizen and eligable to be President.

    May 30, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  10. coy4one

    Trump is just what is needed to keep Romney out of the White House!!

    May 30, 2012 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  11. humtake

    It's Obama's fault no matter how you look at it. When running for President, at the very LEAST you should be able to provide your proof of birth when asked for it. Regardless if Obama is a natural born citizen or not, when the press gets a hold of a story and you don't provide the proof right away, you leave room for conspiracy. This is nothing new and all of the conjecture is Obama's own fault. Next time the media starts a conspiracy campaign, debunk it right away or this is what is going to happen. It's actually common sense. Which is what worries me about Obama since he didn't seem to get it...

    May 30, 2012 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  12. jaylee

    So why did Obama's publishers before he wanted to be President write that Obama was born in Kenya? The publisher was using the bio for years. Obama never had the publisher correct the information. Don't you think he would have that correct that little error? Thats not typo, and it was used for YEARS.

    Don't you want an answer to that?

    May 30, 2012 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  13. Anonymous

    If Romney allows Trump to keep this birther crap up, they will definitely get the vote they ALREADY have – the right wing nut jobs. If they could only focus on the moderate middle voters, they might even win – but I dont see that happening – so good luck Romney, you are going to be looking at the Whitehouse from the outside like all tourists.

    May 30, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  14. Joan

    Barack Obama was born in Kenya. However, that was the President's FATHER. They have the same name you know. When his old grandmother said Barack Obama was born in Kenya through poor translation she must have thought they were asking about her SON which is understandable. The literary agent must have scanned the book quickly, seen that a Barack Obama (his father) was born in Kenya and mistakenly repeated that. That was quite imcompetent and she later admitted her mistake. Every logical, sensible person knows that the President was indeed born in Hawaii. It's too bad that people like Trump can't be big enough to admit their mistakes too. He's beginning to sound OCD about this issue. Why does he always talk about "sources" and "proof" yet he never provides the names and information? It's just smoke and mirrors. Wolf Blitzer should be congratulated for having the courage to stand up for the truth. I hope the media continues to do this on all of the issues in the coming months.

    May 30, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  15. Skel

    Why does the media give this bullheaded braggard air time? Forget the Donald. . . He' s a waste of oxygen.

    May 30, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  16. SCOTO

    Only in America would a clown like Trump be news. I'm not convinced he is even a business success, just born rich.
    You imagine a real smart entrepreneur like Richard Branson bahving like this and buying into craziness like the "birther" stuff?

    May 30, 2012 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  17. Don

    Is there anybody with guts in the GOP these days? Are they all too stupid to see that Donald Trump is only here for himself?

    May 30, 2012 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  18. Jack Kennedy

    oh look at all the LIBERAL VITRIOL, LIES AND HATE toward a real America like trump........while trying to defend oblamo............nothing new for the extremists that have killed the American way of life since taking over in 2006

    May 30, 2012 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  19. dnick47

    The real question is, where was Romney born? I've heard in Mexico.... so how can he run for President?

    May 30, 2012 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  20. sonnie3

    I for one don't think the certificate was any thing but a live birth given after he arrived in the USA. We know how the politicians will hide and lie and swear to it like Clinton did in the Lewinsky case. But it is my opinion all along and it is shared by many.

    Anyway It will be a no starter for now, unless it bothers the obama backers and if it does they must have doubt themselves over just what did take place.

    For Obama to hide his college records, make,s one also think he is hideing lots more. So much for the Transparency he promised. Obama is a failed president.

    May 30, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  21. hoop

    Some members of the GOP's lunatic fringe aren't capable of understanding the real issues that matter in this election. Trump's job is to keep the birther fallacy alive for them so that they won't lose interest and not vote.

    May 30, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  22. Chipster

    Even poor Jan Brewer and Fox News have had to admit it:

    "Update May 23, 2012: The State of Arizona sent investigators to Honolulu, Hawaii to verify the birth certificate of Barack Obama before the Grand Canyon State would allow his name on the ballot for the November 2012 election. Special assistant to Hawaii Attorney General David Louie, Joshua Wisch, told the Associated Press that Hawaii has provided the verification that Arizona was looking for and "that the matter was resolved."

    Of course, there will still be Limbaugh and Beck followers who will never believe the truth because it doesn't suit them and, well frankly, it just makes them look as foolish as they are. At least they have Trump for company. I'm sure Trump will refuse to every admit it to being wrong. Pity the willfully ignorant.

    May 30, 2012 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  23. knutson

    yeah McCain defended Obama and lost the election big time...he wasn't tough enough...the woman's statement was fair to make 'Hussein' (obama's middle name) is Arab...why Trump keeps pounding this issue i don't know...obama already is president....but look at the way the above aticle is written and tell me there is not a bias against conservatives at CNN

    May 30, 2012 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  24. tv22

    So Trump thinks what, that through some conspiracy the Obama's had their child's birth announcement in the paper placed and then what, bribed current day officials to fake the certificate? Then all he had to do was pay off dozens of people throughout Hawaii that could tell you the Obama's were there at that time?

    Please Donald, get ready for next season of your show and leave the politics to the professionals.

    May 30, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  25. zanny

    This shows you what a spineless jeyyfish Romney is. He has no backbone Can you imagine him in the White House and have to make a major decision?? If there is someone with deep pockets, his opinion would be the deciding factor in his decision. Remember this is the candidate the Reps did not want but because of Citizens Ubited he was able to buy the nomination against the Republican power players He could very well buy the election Democracy as we have known it will disappear forever unless you get rid of Citizens United. Donald Trump is an idiot – the apprentice is over and there is no spotlight on him so he goes back to stupidity just to get attention and his face on tv and the media jumps all over it and continues to feed his overblown ego. Could you just ignore him? Romney doesn't have the guts to standup to him or disagree with him and some of you want this man to be President and you better bet Trump will take complete credit for it.

    May 30, 2012 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
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