May 29th, 2012
05:12 PM ET
3 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. newz4i

    Trump's claim: a lot of people believe Obama's birth certificate is false. More than likely the same number of people believe in the conspiracy that 911 was an inside job ... or ... the moon landing was filmed on a Hollywood back lot ... or ... Mr. Romney, is it sinking in? Or, Mr. Romney, do you possess the script used for the filming of the moon landing on a back lot?

    May 30, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  2. Alan8

    Trump's birther statements show the contempt he has for the intelligence of Republican voters. And polls suggest this contempt is justified: Large percentages of Republican voters still fall for this.

    Most Republican voters also don't believe in established scientific facts like evolution and global warming. And they believe a compulsive liar would make a good president.

    It appears Trump knows his audience.

    May 30, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  3. Debbie

    Trump does sound ridiculous. He's great for late night comedians, though.

    May 30, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  4. Joan

    By the way, when is Romney going to make public his income tax forms? Everyone else had to have theirs done and he's got tons of accountants, so his should have easily been completed. Just asking.

    May 30, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  5. Paramad

    What I like about conservatives is they are worried about birth, controlling reproduction, who is having s ex with who and counting the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin. I'm glad they are addressing the important issues of our day unlike Obama who is dealing with all the insignificant problems the United States faces.

    May 30, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  6. Evangenital

    Wolf, your career is now over. Get ready for the Donald!

    May 30, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  7. Me

    Utter nonsense as usual....Trump strirring up an utterly clueless group of people that he knows wil never reaearch the topic and accept it as blind faith. Trump knows it is nonsense, but he also knows he is vote getting at the most ignorant section of society

    May 30, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  8. jimmy

    Yea, so Obama has been sounding ridiculous for almost 4 years.

    May 30, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  9. November

    The ignorance of Trump knows no bounds, and Romney's association with him? Yes. Well done Willard.

    May 30, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  10. 2 interested

    "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."

    So over 50 years ago, Obama's mother said "Hmmm, I know my son is going to be President one day, and nobody will believe he was born in the USA, especially a wiggy man named Trump, so let me PUT THIS ANNOUNCEMENT IN THE PAPER.
    GIVE ME A BREAK.... Mitt, he's pulling you down, better drop him quick. He only donated $2000 to your campaign anyway. That's not enough for you, your use to laying off thousands and collecting millions.

    May 30, 2012 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  11. Debby

    One thing about Trump I admire he is a tough cookie. lol

    May 30, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  12. Mark

    So, since the state of Hawaii says they have a valid birth certificate for Obama Trump is saying the state of Hawaii is being fraudulent with Obama's long form certificate.

    May 30, 2012 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  13. Totus

    So... Romney talking with Donald Trump (one of the most sucessful businessmen in the world) whom questions the President's birthplace is worse than the President being good friends with a terrorist... really??? How about showing both sides of track. That's why we have the unexperienced and underqualified President we have now, because the media refuses to vet Obama.

    May 30, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  14. Anne-Florida

    Why are people that dislike President Obama so much writing or even reading on CNN websites. You know everything about everything from Fox News so why aren't you on their website with your shrill, ridiculous statements that you think are true.

    May 30, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  15. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Getting off the Birther kick, The Donald needs to be reminded that the reason that China is taking OUR jobs is because his buddies in the billionaires club moved those jobs to China because paying someone 15 to 20 dollars an hour to build widgets doesn't make sense when you can pay someone the same for a month.
    Of course, this reminds me of the old apocryphal story about Henry Ford. He was shown a factory that had replaced a lot of the workers with automated machinery. He said that was very nice, but how many of those machines bought the products they were making. By eliminating those jobs from Americans, they were also removing a source of customers for those products.

    May 30, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  16. Anonymous

    If one wants to see what is wrong with the USA – look no further than people like Donald Trump

    May 30, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  17. DDSilks

    Dear Mr. Trump, You mean with all your money and high up contacts you cannot produce proof that Obama was born in a foreign land? Give me a break! If anyone can get proof, it would be you. So if you can't, just shut up and go away. I'm not saying I believe Obama was born here or not–he is the President and that's that. If you are trying to prevent him from being re-elected, spend some of your dollars and GET THE PROOF.

    May 30, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  18. Bob

    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.
    -----------------------------------

    You are truly deluded. His entire past has been gone over with a fine toothed comb, yet you people stil have the nerve to make that claim?

    May 30, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  19. midwest

    Why does anyone care what "The Donald" has to say? He's a legend in his own mind.

    May 30, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  20. Alix

    I never thought that Trump was all that bright, but jeez louise, I thought he was just a little smarter than this.

    May 30, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  21. Charlou

    What is Mitt's accomplisments that stand out to you and where is the proof or do he make his millions send the money seas and leave everyone else hanging out there with nothing.

    May 30, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  22. Shady1

    Instead of attacking Trump how about producing Obamas papers ! Any one or state can tell you anything . Producing the papers to prove it is another matter . The Birth Cert . produced from the WH has been proven to be a photo shop copy from at lest 3 different papers . His grade school and college papers also NOT produced . To become President of the US BOTH parents must be American Citizens . Somehow Dems walked around that fact . Obamas father NOT an American . Obamas Mother renounced her and Obamas citizenship to live in Indonesia when she married Sotoroe . At that time you could not hold duel citizenship in Indonesia .Obama traveled to Indonesia at a time NO American Citizen was allowed to enter their country . Obamas passport still not produced with the rest of his papers . Obamas SSN from a state he never lived in . I can say I am anyone but IF I don't have the papers to prove it . It's just a story or a lie . Obama could clear this up but has paid over a million to keep his papers out of the public view . WHY ! Why has Media helped to cover this up ? Any that has questioned Obamas papers has been attacked ond or taken off the air . Mr. Blitzer , How blind are you ? Show the facts in writing of Obamas papers then and only then would this problem be solved . But first you must pry them from Obamas grip . Now let's get back to what a MESS Obama is as a president !

    May 30, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  23. Ronincalif

    Trump is sounding like a loon. He is a very successful man who is doing himself and Romney damage. He need to b;ast Obama on his record or shut up.

    May 30, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  24. olivia

    Trump should stick to bankruptcy. Thats what he is good at. Quit interviewing him already

    May 30, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  25. Craig/Kansas

    So was Obama's mother at the hospital? Was Barack Obama born in the hospital? Or was he born somewhere else and his mom called in his birth over the phone.

    May 30, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
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