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. Eroc

    I am truly embarrassed by the GOP's failed leadership and integrity. Mitt is such a wimp!

    May 30, 2012 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  2. cigarman

    Obama had it right when he called Trump a Carnival Barker. That is why Trump hates Obama, Obama hit the nail on the head. Trump is a very rich Carnival Barker, and cannot stand to be ignored. Trump is just a spoiled BRAT, who has not really grown up yet. Trump should really be asking for Romney`s and Rubio`s birth certificates.

    May 30, 2012 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  3. Anonymous

    I was beginning to consider Mitt – but his association with this arrogant, puffy turkey did it for me -

    May 30, 2012 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  4. nick p.

    Trump makes GOP & Romney seem foolish, the more Romney allows this to go on the more to obama's advantage, you would think that Romney would be bright enought o figure that out, and its not like he has problems bringing in cash, the problem with romney is that he is a bit like Nixon, paranoid and very little confidence in himself winning, he is keeping romney to make sure he has the republican base on his side, remember, the GOP has already made it clear that he is not their choice and as long as Romney thinks the base stil feels that way he will keep trump around!

    May 30, 2012 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  5. vulpecula

    Trump will be the Republicains scapegoat when they lose.

    May 30, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  6. Td

    Lizzie u realize Obama family was not a family of means. He is a self made Man. A tea party person should love him. Instead they back mr daddy's money Mitt.

    May 30, 2012 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  7. GJGVT

    "a lot of people do not think it was an authentic certificate," though he declined to offer names of experts who agree with him." <<– A lot of people think the world is flat too, but try to find and name an expert who agrees...

    May 30, 2012 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  8. ChristopherM

    Donald Trump is a joke, and it shows just how much Mitt Romney will sell himself out to get donations by the fact that he's even allowing himself to be seen with him.

    May 30, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  9. MCJNY

    Circus anyone? Utter and complete nonsense. Tomfoolery in the place of serious political discourse. not worth the time to even debunk..more.

    Anyway, Has anyone noted that trump reneged on his promise to disclose his finances when obama showed his full birth certificate? The clown prince of real estate who won't go away. The male, sarah palin. Neither of which are done making a dishonest buck on our stupidity.

    May 30, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  10. Daniel Hoffman

    Any of you republicans know where McCain was born? He has never claimed to have been born in the USA. Doesn't matter; his mother was and that's enough.

    May 30, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  11. kevin3g

    Romney won't distance himself from Trump and his idiotic obsession because Romney is an overgrown school yard bully, and bullies like him are followers not leaders. And no, you don't outgrow your basic personality traits. Romney will always be a follower, the question is, who will be his leader (and the real leader of America) if he manages to con 50.1 percent of the electorate to vote for him.

    May 30, 2012 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  12. Cedar Rapids

    “useeknfind …..But I find it interesting that he has spent a cool $1 million in attorney fees fighting this issue in various courts.”
    Aha! another one claiming millions spent, maybe you can finally sort this out for me. Every time I see this figure (or 2million, or whatever the figure is they like to choose) no one EVER seems to be able to cite the original source for me. Perhaps you can do it, can please cite the original source for this claim?

    May 30, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  13. Tony in STL

    How in the hell did this guy get so rich??? There really is a sucker born every minute! Has to be!

    May 30, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  14. Canukman

    Trump's most recent "birther" remarks really show the measure of both himself and Romney. About Trump it shows his low intelligence and about Romney it shows his utter lack of integrity. The USA is far too classy a country for these 2 dishonest fools to try to represent!

    May 30, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  15. Mike Jones

    There is citizenship by soil, and citizenship by birth. Obama's mother is a natural born American citizen which makes Obama an American. It wouldn't matter if he was born in Antartica, she's a citizen and thusly he is too.

    May 30, 2012 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  16. motherbuffer

    Can someone PLEASE explain to me why Trump is still considered relevant? Arrogant jacka$$ that he is, he must have another show this summer or a casino opening – that's the only time he surfaces-to get ratings.

    May 30, 2012 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  17. Vince

    Keep at it Trump....I haven't had anything to keep me entertained since Michelle and Rick left the race!

    May 30, 2012 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  18. Anonymous

    "You have to give it to Trump, Hillary Clinton questioned the Presidents birthplace, back in the Illionous senate race Keyes questioned it, then senator Obama said "WHO CARES I'M NOT RUNNING FOR PRESSIDENT.""

    Man, you radical right hatewing suckers will fall for anything. The Keyes people themselves have already denied that such a statement was ever made, and the debate videos have been made available. Yet even that doesn't stop the haters from lying and pretending President Obama said something he never did. Grow up and quit spewing your garbage here.

    May 30, 2012 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  19. Dan

    Obama's mother was born in Kansas, making her a US citizen, and therefore any of her children are automatically US citizens no matter where they are born. This whole argument is so ridiculous and such a waste of time.

    May 30, 2012 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  20. helpuz

    Obama – "Polish Death Camps?" – What a joke, this guy is President of the United States? I'm embarassed for everyone in the United States after this latest gaff.

    May 30, 2012 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  21. Charlie

    IMO Trump will just make the GOP more fragmented. This is good for Obama.

    May 30, 2012 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  22. sylvia

    Truthfully, no one really knows a heck of a lot about Obama. I think he is the least vetted of any President we have ever had. I gather his social security number comes from a state he never lived in, he has no college friends or history. As a law school journal editor he managed to write NO articles. Very odd. But heck we are stuck with him for the short term. I would like to see Romney win cause this economy is really awful, and whatever Obama is he is incompetent.

    May 30, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  23. musings

    As long as the Republicans can keep this publicity going, it's mission accomplished: free advertising for Romney. Lest we forget, Romney's own father, who also ran for President, was born in a Mormon colony in Mexico. But as for Obama, for people who don't get it, his mother was a white woman from Iowa who was not only a US citizen, but one from generations of Americans (just like Romney's father).

    This sideshow, brought to you by publicity hound Trump, is taking away from what the real problems are. Plus, it allows Republicans to do "wink, wink, say no more" about race so that their bigotry can flourish.

    May 30, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  24. Anonymous

    I don't know. Bit hard for Mitt Romney to argue that Barack Obama isn't qualified to be President by simple virtue of being born in Hawaii when Mitt's own father ran for president after having been born in Mexico. Wonder what George Romney - were he still alive - think of a son who is trying to squash the legitimacy of the current President of the United States when his own father really wasn't born in the U.S. ... and still ran for President.

    May 30, 2012 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  25. Jean

    The more Trump can keep this "birther" controversy going, the more attention is diverted from the fact that Romney hasn't released his tax returns yet or 'fessed up on how many millions of dollars he as stashed in the Caymen Islands or in Swiss bank accounts. Now THAT is what the issues should really be about. What kind of president of the United States would shield wealth from taxation in foreign countries and turn around and ask you and me to give even more of our income to the IRS? Not MY kind of American! That kind should NEVER be president.

    May 30, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
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