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. zundfolge1432

    I'm sorry, I can't look over all the previous comments. Please look at my 2nd assertion before you dismiss my comment.
    1. I believe Barack Obama was born in Hawaii.
    2. Even if that were not true, the fact that his mother was a US citizen makes him a 'natural-born US citizen – period, end of story.
    It is hard to resist making further comments regarding Donald Trump, but I will.

    May 30, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  2. Anonymous

    "Apuzzo went on to say that Obama’s father was not an American citizen, meaning President Obama is not a “natural born” citizen and ineligible for the office he holds."

    Another off-the-rails afterbirther doesn't even know the law.

    May 30, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  3. Dave

    I do not think they asked to see the birth certificates for Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton or even George W. Bush when they were President but when an African-American with a Musilim sounding name is elected, everyone freaks the hell out. Will they ask to see Mitt Romney's birth certificate since he is a Mormon? Let's just focus on what matters the most...jobs, health care, and the economy...

    May 30, 2012 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "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?"
    -------------------------------------------------
    He would be exactly what he is today, and always has been: a backboneless charlatan more than willing to bully the underdog (when backed-up by a cowardly mob and a pair of scissors) and line his pockets while amorally trying to buy his way into the White House with the backing of his equally amoral corporate friends.
    Obama 2012. Seriously America..............or would that be "AMERCIA"?

    May 30, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  5. Anonymous

    "I am more concerned by a President that embraced and now refuses to condemn violent Occupy protests."

    Yes, it would be nice if he'd come out and denounce the violent police over-reactions to a handful of protesters, not to mention the government provacateurs who go undercover to stir up violence and controversy.

    May 30, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  6. Anonymous

    "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?"

    Oh look, a new variation on the "failed presidency" garbage! Ya know, you radical right hatewingers would make a lot more sense if you had some idea of the difference between "success" and "failure", since you clearly don't right now. HINT: A rising Dow, a falling unemployment rate and a dead bin-Laden is NOT "failure" or a lack of accomplishment.

    May 30, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  7. ireuel

    Yes he was born in Hawaii, but that is the argument Barry has wanted the whole time. Its not the place of birth it is something on the original certificate that is what they are afraid of. That is why the Original one in it original format is not being shown. Just a guess, or theory. I can say and think this because in this country I have freedom of speech. Why would I think this? It took 4 years to get a Certificate of birth posted on a website for the public that is not a certified true copy that we all get when we ask for a copy, did it myself two years ago to get my passport because they required a Certified copy of the original. Of course now when we question the long drawn out process that this took, we are Racist. Its not the birth certificate of the color of his skin, it is his leadership style of not excepting responsibility for his mistakes and continuing to blame anything and every thing. Also he was running for office he was against torture and all in Gitmo should get a fair trial. Now he is trying them the same way and not capturing anyone anymore, just drone justices with a hit list. It was so easy to blame President Bush before he was sworn in, but he is doing pretty much the same and worse in all areas. No he will not get my vote and Mitt may not either.

    May 30, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  8. SadlySensible

    While I defend Mr. Trump's freedom to speech, I have to thank him for showing America what a moron he is by constantly pushing this issue. Nothing will make the majority of Americans (and folks from the rest of the world) look at you askance faster than being a conspiracy theorist nutjob. His freedom of speech might just cause the television network that broadcasts his show to say, "Mr. Trump, you're fired!"

    May 30, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  9. Jon B

    Romney seems more and more like a spineless weakling. It would be refreshing if he just stood up for something! A good way to show us that he can be tough would be to stand up to Trump, who is a flat out liar. Notice he never has any sources when he makes his idiotic claims.

    May 30, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  10. Scuromondo

    Obama wasn't born in Kenya. But even if he was, he would still be a "natural born citizen." According to the Congressional Research Service, the definitino of "natural born citizen" would "most likely include" not only anyone born on U.S. soil but anyone born overseas of at least one parent who was a U.S. citizen.

    May 30, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  11. ST

    One thing one can't recycle is wasted time. Trump should be ignored completely.

    May 30, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  12. Lynda/Minnesota

    @Chipster:
    "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."

    It does no good to argue with the haters, or give them facts. Their hate is so ingrained against President Obama that I doubt they will ever believe he is an American citizen. Shame on Mitt Romney for once again allowing their hate rule the day in America.

    I am an Obama supporter. Having said that, there is no way I could ever give Romeny my respect. He simply doesn't deserve any.

    May 30, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  13. Cedar Rapids

    “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”

    Yeah, do you see the irony of pointing a finger and claiming liberal are full of hate lies and vitriol and then go on to call Obama ‘oblamo’ and calling them extremist American way of life killers? No of course you don’t, what am I thinking.

    May 30, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  14. Cedar Rapids

    “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.”

    You are kidding me right? Least vetted? He has had people investigate his damn birth for crying out loud, tell me one other president where they did that? As for the rest…go look for it, it is out there, it really is.

    May 30, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  15. russ

    I question whether Trump is really a successful businessman as he claims. I have seen no proof of that. All I know is that he is the lead character on a "reality" show on NBC.

    May 30, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  16. billy davis

    Dennis, President Bush didn't release his college records. He didn't have to. Those records are protected.

    May 30, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  17. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    @Anonymous

    You ask can any of you dems provide a list of Obama's achievements?

    Well, I'm afraid I can't because President Obama's achievents are numerous, plentiful, enormous, tremendous, never ending, big, bold, unprecedented and the list goes on and on and on...

    May 30, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  18. anoel2005

    The record Obama can't run on is 23 million people are out of work in this country.

    So media types like Wolf "in the bag for Obama" Blitzer are trying to keep the " Birther" story live by constantly bringing it up. Not many people care. Nice ratings CNN....NOT.

    May 30, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  19. Pat in IL

    If Trump and his idiocy (not just with the birther issue, but others, too) is the kind of person Romney surrounds himself with, then I truly fear the advisors, cabinet, supreme court nominations, etc. if he should become President. I'm not worried about that, though, because his chances of becoming President are getting slimmer and slimmer.

    May 30, 2012 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  20. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Forget about Donald, he's cooked but what concerns me is Romney becoming the Commander in Chief of our military men and women when he has five(5) sons and no one serves in our U.S. Military. His sons are home when their babies are born and we have military men and women who don't see the birth of their child or their childs birthday and some whom their children don't know because they died serving in combat. I have a problem with that, not one of Romney's five(5) precious sons have made the sacrifices that many have, not one.

    May 30, 2012 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  21. Nurse143

    Back in 1968 Mitt's Dad ran for president and he was born in Mexico (as Mitt's birth certificate says) but the legal interpretaion by the Congressional Research Service declared that the practical, legal meaning of "natural born citizen" would "most likely include" not only anyone born on U.S. soil but anyone born overseas of at least one parent who was a U.S. citizen. So if either of Mitt's grandparents was a citizen, Mitt's dad George was a citizen no matter where he was born. The Donald and birthers have never tried to claim Barack's mom wasn't a citizen so no matter whether Barack was born in Hawaii, in Africa, or on the moon he is an American citizen.

    May 30, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  22. Chipster

    For our veterans, President Obama reinstated the GI Bill, improved and provided additional body armor to soldiers in the field, increased VA funding for brain trauma and PTSD, and ended the stop-loss policy initiated by the previous administration. President Obama and the Democratic Congress passed health care that ended predatory insurance practices. Companies can no longer kick people out of plans they have paid into for years or reduce their benefits when they acquire a serious illness. They can no longer deny coverage for pre-existing conditions and children can remain on their parent's insurance until age 26. President Obama and the Democratic Congress passed credit card legislation that prevents predatory lending practices. 26 months of private sector job growth! Excuse me, Trump what??? Hey, Donald! Trump THAT!

    May 30, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  23. Joan

    There is a whole about the Republican Party I do not understand. First off, I am sure some government office...FBI.. would have found the truth if Obama was not a citizen. This argument is stupid. I though Trump was smart but when he said China is stealing our jobs that really sealed his stupidity for me. It is American businesses using Chinese labor for cheap products. Apple's computers are made in China. So many other things from the US business community is in China. Then the Republicans want to decrease revenue and balance the budget. I hope they give me the formula for that one because I could then work part time and pay off my bills. There is no common sense here. We need to raise taxes for everyone, rich, poor, middle class. Bush put us in such a hole it will take years to get us out. Rominey is a nice guy but goes with the flow.

    May 30, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  24. christina knight

    Mr. Trump should be ignored unless he has something intelligent to say. Of course that means we have a very long wait ahead of us. Apparently the man does not care that most of us do not respect him or his views. It is legitimate to criticize the President for his policy decisions (and I support the President but not all of his decisions), but to continue with this 'birther' nonsense reflects poorly on Mr. Trump's intelligence and integrity. Christina Knight

    May 30, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  25. Mike Botwin

    Donald Trump, three times in corporate bankruptcy, bailouts on the taxpayer's nickel, living in his gold plated world of supermodels and champaigne. He's the perfect poster boy for Republican hypocrisy.

    May 30, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
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