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. Paul

    I vote for neither one of them. Both are liars, chets and only out for the rich. I will write in Ron Paul.

    May 30, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  2. Got U

    From what I read and hear Obama's birthplace has not been an issue with Romney directly. Appears this is another liberal media attempt to deflect attention away from the real issues at hand (high unemployment, mounting debt, continued fiscal irresponsibility, no budget, etc., etc., etc.)

    May 30, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  3. Bill

    This is just another extremist on the GOP bandwagon with nonsense bafflegab. Bad enough we have to listen to their religious right faction tell us not to use condoms or we'll go to hell, but to start with silly stuff like this is an embarasment to the whole political process. You'd think this was some benighted third-world society! Next the Pope will send in his exorcist to get things right! LOL Romney needs to get more centrist and populist and get out off the ridiculist!

    May 30, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  4. ChiefGunner

    Romney doesn't need to respond to Trump's claims. He has no control over what Trump says and there are real issues to discuss. If you really want to play that game what about the President taking money from Bain? What about the Democrat PAC commercial trying to make Romney into a bad guy for a steel plant that closed 2-years after he left Bain? What about Carney's stupid comments that companies that accept taxpayer money and then go broke is somehow better than companies that take private money and go broke? The President, the DNC and obviously CNN just don't want to talk about real issues so they try to perform CPR on a dead story.

    May 30, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  5. Rich

    I like how Trump said he "doesn't give names" when pressed for something to back up his claims, yet he name drops constantly (including his own name in third person). What a tool.

    May 30, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  6. Realist

    Birthers are a special breed for sure..............

    May 30, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  7. Wes

    Trump probably thinks that men REALLY are from Mars and women REALLY are from venus. With people of this minimalism level of intelligence and the slope of global evolvement, I am just glad that I am gravely ill and do not have to worry about living for a much longer time. Especially under the boot of these simplistic yet narcissistic and hubris minded power-centric people; who would consider having more children? The future seems dimmer now than ever before. Good luck.

    May 30, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  8. Mike

    As if we did not have enough reasons not to vote for Romney, now he stands next to Donald Trump, the ultimate shyster, used car salesman. Good going Mitt!!

    May 30, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  9. eyespeye

    It is odd that only CNN wants to discuss this. Trump has tremedous insight into business and spectacular ideas on creating jobs, but Blitzer wants to discuss Trumps one unusual thought. Trying to distract us again, Wolf? It's the economy, stupid.

    May 30, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  10. Mark McMiller

    The birth certificate is irrelevant, not because it may be authentic, but because even if it is authentic, Obama is not a natural born U.S citizen. The U.S. Supreme Court decided in 1875 that in order to be a natural born U.S. citizen, both of your parents must be U.S. citizens. Therefore, Obama is not a natural born U.S. citizen even if he was born in Hawaii because his father was not a U.S citizen.

    May 30, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  11. clubschadenfreude

    shady1, you are hilarious. I do love to see people lying about such pathetic things. The birth certificate is not a photo shop copy. If you think, so, show me the affadavits to prove it. And now going after his college and grade school paperwork? Just hilarious. And no, Obama's mother renounced nothing. And hilarious that you claim that no American citizen was able to enter Indonesia "at that time". Pity you are so ignorant and bigotted that you must conjure such lies. I'm guessing you are a Christian; most conservatives are. How nice ot see you bearing false witness.

    May 30, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  12. sfeadmin

    In one breath, Trump claims Obama wasn't even born anywhere near a hospital, but in the next breath, he claims granny pointed down the street to the hospital before being hushed by neighbors... So which is it, Donald? get your story straight! The deception originated with bigots like Trump... not with Obama!

    May 30, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  13. AverageJoe76

    If Obama isn't American then the fault is on a lot of people. But guess what, at this point, who gives a rat's behind?? He's been the president for a few years now. I'm pretty sure this is the last issue on the minds of the people (for those people that have minds). This is called 'being dumb' on Trump's part, and being a distraction. Romney should reel Trump in if he doesn't want to be associated with such nonsense. This plan has been used and failed. Why continue with a failed plan?? Trump, "you're fired."

    May 30, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  14. Chipster

    Even if the State of Hawaii posted the original on the wall of the Health Department, you still wouldn't believe it. The health dept. and state government have verified it and the Social Security Administration has explained that the rumors about the SSN are false as well. The number belongs to Barack Obama, cards are not necessarily issued according to the state but the number on the President's card could have been issued due to the handwriting on the application being read as a 0 instead of a 9. The card is valid, was only issued to him, but of course you won't believe them either. So let's get back to all the things Obama has done for veterans and the job growth over the past 26 months. Let's talk about the benefits to credit card users, women who can legally appeal inequitable pay, ending the War in Iraq, ordering the operation that killed Bin Laden and scattered Al Qaeda, successful negotiations for improved trade equity with China. Not enough room for all the promises kept but you can look them up.

    May 30, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  15. RS, CA

    Obama's at fault here. He should have released the birth certificate and his college transcripts YEARS ago if he had nothing to hide. Is he really that stupid to think people's wouldn't question the lack of it in a presidential election? Not very smart, Barry!

    May 30, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  16. Indy in MN


    Please take a civics class. Only one parent needs to be an American citizen or you need to be born on American soil (a state, military base, or embassy; and with the latter two that means any where in the world).

    May 30, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  17. Governor 47th in Job Growth


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

    May 30, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
    Ahh yes, the old Chump "No you sound ridiculous" play from the immature playbook. This was based largely on the "I know you are but what am I?" play from the 2nd graders recess playbook.

    May 30, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  18. Laurie in Spokane

    Unbelievable! Trump the Chump is STILL going on about the birther issue. He's going to do Romey so much more harm than good in the general election, and that I'm all for, but really, give it a rest already.

    May 30, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  19. Rick

    Mitt, please make Trump your runningmate. He would "trump" Sarah Palin as the funniest candidadte ever and make this the most hilarious presidential campaign in the history of the world. Trump is the only politician that can out-clown Hugo Chavez.

    May 30, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  20. Tom

    Rmoney is an anchor baby. He should be required to show his birth certificate.

    May 30, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  21. denise

    @ Shady1Mitt Romney's father, George, was born in Mexico. Does that mean Mitt is not eligible to be President of the United States? That argument and all others you stated do not hold water. Stop making things up please.

    May 30, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  22. Jimm

    Got U

    From what I read and hear Obama's birthplace has not been an issue with Romney directly. Appears this is another liberal media attempt to deflect attention away from the real issues at hand (high unemployment, mounting debt, continued fiscal irresponsibility, no budget, etc., etc., etc.)


    Romeny can end the discussion very easily. He won't though.

    May 30, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  23. John P. Tarver

    Blitzer should avoid these pot kettle arguements with Trump. How about just telling Trump that Obama's mother made him a natural citizen and point out that it does not matter that Obama lied about being born in Kenya to gain advantages at the university.

    May 30, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  24. divaD

    This is so pitiful... I don't have a problem with Trump believing what he wants about Obama's birth (despite all the evidence) bit to now make accusations against his mother is just shameful. To imply that she wasn't in the hospital and basically accuse her of being privy to some scam when she is mo longer alive to defend herself is particularly disturbing. This is a new low for Mr. Trump...

    May 30, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  25. ThinkAgain

    @RS, CA: "Obama's at fault here. He should have released the birth certificate and his college transcripts YEARS ago if he had nothing to hide. Is he really that stupid to think people's wouldn't question the lack of it in a presidential election?"

    No, the mistake he made was believing that Americans are smarter and have more integrity than what the GOP base has shown.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    May 30, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
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