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. indigo

    I respect Donald Trump's business acumen, but he should stick to what he knows and stay out of politics. Wasn't his insistence on the "birth" issue embarrassing enough the first time around, after President Obama stated he had other things on his mind and we learned the next day that OBL had been killed?

    May 30, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  2. Name

    Any us citizen that gives birth anywhere in the world is giving birth to a us citizen! His mother was a citizen case closed!

    May 30, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  3. MikeTexoma

    In Mitt Romney I see a man who is not a leader, but a taker. Leaders put themselves at risk by example to change perceptions and opinions and bring innovations and solutions, in pursuit of a cause greater than themselves. Takers want no part of risk. They take everything they can get, money, power, advantage, count themselves winners, and go home with it. Romney will not disavow Trump because Trump has money and Romney knows how to make news, and that is what Romney wants now. So he embraces Donald Trump. Where Romney would actually take America is not his true concern.

    May 30, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  4. Riazzio

    Even Obama's Attorney admitted in court that the B.C. Posted on the White House web site is a fraud, but it does not matter because according to her he is 'Popular".
    Besides that what is Amazing NO ONE wants to talk about the Social Security Card Number the man uses! That has never been denied - the fact that he utilized a dead mans Social Security Card number. Let the government catch you or me doing that and see what happens.

    May 30, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  5. Jordan Nass

    LOL @ Shady1. Way to carry the trump flag. You do know the Republican governor of Hawaii personally acknowledged the birth certificate is genuine? If his birth certificate wasn't legit, Hillary would have found out when she was running against him, likewise McCain. It's amazing anyone still buys into this nonsense. I guess it makes it less shocking the other ridiculous nonsense a gullible electorate is willing to believe.

    May 30, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  6. Bootch

    Here's a better idea. Change the law so that all Americans are equal like the consititution says they should be. How can there be tiers of citizenship? It makes no sense. All that matters is where your allegiance lies and whether or not you are qualified for a position. Get rid of an antiquated law that makes absolutley no sense and serves no purpose other than to give windbags with bad hair like Trump a stump to shout from.

    May 30, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

    Apparently it's acceptable for Mr. Romney to have HIS birth certificate authenticated by his homestate of Michigan, but it is not acceptable for Mr. Obama's homestate of Hawaii to authenticate his birth certificate.

    Hmmm. Maybe Mitt will give us a speech explaining the double standard ... ?

    May 30, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  8. Someone who actually reads for himself

    @ Shady1 – A little document called The Consitution actually dictates who can and can't be President. No mention of birth place of the parents there. Please research some facts before smearing the reputation of true conservatives and strict constructionists with your ridiculous and uneducated rants. There are legitimate, intelligent reasons to oppose this President by making up trash you undermine both those reasons and those who champion them

    May 30, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  9. Central PA

    "i dont give names"... what a clown

    May 30, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  10. Jack from Illinois

    Apparently, Donald Trump LIKES making himself a laugingstock. That's cool, it gives him a hobby and entertains us.

    He also doesn't seem to care about the amount of collateral damage he's doing to the Republican Party and especially to their nominee-apparent Romney, on whose behalf Trump is loudly fundraising. This too is a good thing, it makes it less likely Romney will win in November AND it shortens his coattails. Fewer elected Republicans is a good thing.

    Keep up the good work, Donald.

    May 30, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  11. CoolHair

    Where can I find a birther? I just want to have a entertaining conversation with someone that has no grasp of reality.

    May 30, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  12. Eileen

    Could someone please stuff a sock into Trump's mouth? Good for Wolf B. for trying to make sense, but you can't...
    because Trump can never never admit a mistake. He is a charlatan, he is a bloviator, he is so egotistical that he
    spouts off about anything, and he LIES!!! He's always saying things like "people are saying" etc..... and never can back
    up any of his claims. The man is a creep. That Romney continues to allow for him and his money is a real sign of
    the kind of man Romney is. And anyone with hair like Trump's should not be allowed on the airwaves.

    May 30, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  13. !ST SGT

    John P. Tarver – Don't be silly. His mother being an American does not make him a natural born citizen. Know what your government laws are. Check how many service men and women have faced the same challenge when their off springs were born overseas. The child is foreign born and must apply for citizenship. This is an unanswered question an if the birth certificate is a forgery then Obama is a criminal many time over. It must be thoroughly checked out. I feel he is foreign born and also a person who has motives to destroy our Constitution.

    May 30, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  14. Michael Murphy

    Shady one It seems you have been watching Fox news to much. The president has produced his Birth certificate numerous times for your and any one else's scrutiny. The problem is that no matter how many times he produces his papers some one always claims to have not seen it and it starts all over again. It is no more a conspiracy then bush bombing the trade center and cheny being arrested for war crimes. Someone asked for a list of Obamas accomplishments ssince being elected.
    To Start this long list of accomplishments I am going to start with the most important one.
    1, Obama Came into office following a republican effort to destroy the economy by causing a depression unlike anything previously seen, and as bad or worse as the first depression. Fact.
    2. Obama stopped the downward spiral of unemployment, the last month of Bush's presidency the US lost 800,000 jobs. The first six months of Obama's presidency turned that around to a positive 1million jobs. Fact.
    3. He rescued the auto industry thereby heading off another recessssion. Fact
    4. He got Health care for every citizen of this country, prexisting conditions dont matter, older children still covered. Fact
    5. He Captured and assinated the number one terrorist against the US. Fact
    6. He helped and led the battle to rid the world of Kadify. Fact
    and the list goes on but what can I say as people like you will never give him credit for these acomplishments because all you see is a black man in the white house and you hate him for it

    May 30, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  15. Debbie

    I love the way that Trump and the other far righters just can't leave the president's nationality alone, yet scream bloody murder when anyone challenges them on it.
    You can't have it both ways. Either shut up or expect push back. Plus, Trump is a clown and looking more bizarre than ever with this stunt.

    May 30, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  16. joe

    Has everyone in this country lost their ability to reason? Why is it that anytime Obama's birthplace is brought up, The news media immediately wants to label the person asking the questions crazy. No matter what Party you belong to the following facts are not disputable, which at the very least causes much suspicion, which Obama could rectify by just being transparent.
    1. No ORIGINAL of the long form Birth certificate has ever been released, only a copy.
    2. Obama WILL NOT release his College transcripts, (which happen to have birth info)
    3. There is NO record of Obama's mother being in the hospital.

    Look this up...these are facts that are a matter of record no matter what political agenda one may have.

    May 30, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  17. Sly

    Cry Trump cry ... y'all right wing extremists will be crying past the 2016 election.

    Nothin' more funny than racist white boys crying in their milk.

    Ho ho ho ho ... uh Donald, I guess you didn't notice that Obama has been President for 4 years now – and is an American hero for defeating Bin Laden and Khadafy, and ending the Iraq war.

    Y'll don't stand a chance ... as Americans.

    May 30, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  18. Frank

    I don't doubt that Obama was born here and quite frankly it was never important to me. What does concern me is that he clearly allowed people to believe that he was from Kenya when it was convenient to further his goals. He created this issue by lying or allowing lies to be perpetuated. This is a problem of his own making and maybe he should explain why he did what he did.

    May 30, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  19. Charlie

    Mittens will never criticize or distance himself from his big money supporters.

    May 30, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  20. Boomer in Mo

    McCain was born in Panama, so he's not a U.S. citizen according to Trump. I thought you could be born anywhere, even Mars, and as long as one of your parents was a U.S. citizen, you automatically got citizenship. If not, there are hundreds of thousands of U.S. military brats who are not U.S. citizens. Does Trump want them deported?

    May 30, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  21. frboothe

    If Donny had no money he wouldn't be here. He has no credibility. He states is opinion as fact. Mitt has already ceded the argument. I thought he was in charge of his campaign. If he can't run that, how is going to run the government? And as someone else here suggested, perhaps he doesn't want anyone looking into his father immigration into this country. Donny would go away if media outlets would stop responding to him...his narcissism is over the top and pathetic to watch. A rich guy who acts like he lives in a trailer park, sheesh.

    May 30, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  22. MaryM

    This trump/birther stuff will come back and bite romney in the but. Romney, either stand up to trump and show you have some integrity or step aside because America does not need a spineless President

    May 30, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  23. joet

    While Mr. Trump is chasing down Mr. Obama's birth certificate, please have him secure a copy of Mr. George W. Bush's DD214. As we already have a copy of Mr. Obama's birth certificate, I would imagine that the DD214 would be easy for a man of Mr. Trump's considerable wealth and connections.

    May 30, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  24. ZedATL

    You are entitled to your own opinions. But you are not entitled to your own facts.

    May 30, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  25. Steve Rice

    Corporatism is the preferred economic pillar of the Fascist Socio-Political Model and was introduced in Post WWI Italy by Giovanni Gentile (attributed to Benito Mussolini).
    The theory and practice of organizing society into “Corporations” subordinate to the state allows for money – and therefore power – to be forced upward into the hands of a select few who support a figurehead “Dictator” under a totalitarian Regime.
    These Government Controlled Corporations serve as organs of political representation and therefore control the persons and activities within their jurisdiction.
    Reference the “Corporate State” put into effect in Fascist Italy between World Wars I and II – it reflected the will of the country’s Dictator, Benito Mussolini, rather than the interests of economic groups “The People”.

    I suggest that everyone reading this – especially Republicans, Tea Partiers and others leaning to The Right – do their own research, then think long & hard about Trump, Murdoch, The Koch brothers, Joseph Ricketts et al. – and their anticipated Figurehead, Mitt Romney.

    May 30, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
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