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.

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

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. Nick-o

    McCain born in Panama. Mittens born in Mexico. Trump born on Mars. I think Obama was the only one of the four born in the US of A. Disagree on policies, fine. But stop this nonsensical garbage while we have bigger, tangible and real issues to face

    May 30, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  2. Sandy

    Mitt Romney is nothing more than a panderer - he will pander to anyone/anything he thinks will give him an advantage. And since he is unable to stand up to members of his own party and the true powers that be - Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh, what chance does he have against the North Korean's, the Chinese and others.

    May 30, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  3. manfromv

    This Obama's birth certificate issue is like a cancer, eating away at the US domestic politics and making US looks like a banana republic in front of the world. It has been around for over 3 years and spreading quickly recently without resolution. It has polarizes the US voters into two camps. The fact is it is not going away until it is completely resolved. This cancer is not good for America and not good for the world, it needs to be resolved one way or the other before the next election.

    The pro-birthers BELIEVE that Obama is NOT a NATURAL BORN CITIZEN, they can not prove it because they can not prove something that is negative. Their belief is based on circumstantial evidences. The only person who can debunk this belief is President Obama himself. He can show the original paper copy of his certificate in a White House conference in front of all reporters. All these talks about internet copies, Hawaii officials and Arizona officials are distractions from the real issue which goes no where.

    Please President Obama, get rid of this cancer by doing the proper thing, debunk this birther conspiracy and concentrate on the coming election. You and you alone has the power and relevant documents.

    May 30, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  4. OPEN400

    Two independent Hawaain newspapers reported the birth. Are they part of the conspriracy as well? BTW: John McCain was not even born in an Ameircan state, but was born in the American sector of Panama Canal zone. Why was there no big controversy about McCain's birth?

    May 30, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  5. Mormon romney

    Will ruin the USofA! Vote Ron Paul

    May 30, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  6. P

    You go, Blitzer! I respect Trump, but this avenue is ridiculous. Been there done that.

    May 30, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  7. hemplover

    Would Trump be trumping up these charges if McCain, who was born in Panama, were president? No, because McCain is WHITE.

    May 30, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  8. christine

    Trump sounds so stupid! First of all, if you can't be president because you are not BORN in the USA – then McCain couldn't have been POTUS either...he wasn't BORN in the USA. Obama's mother is from Kansas, so where her son is born really doesn't matter – he is a US citizen – just like McCain. Do you get it, Donald?? It doesn't matter to anyone but you and your less than intelligent lemmings.

    May 30, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  9. oldbear

    Why is this news? Obama takes money and help from Bill Mahre and Bill Ayers. I don't care. They are not him and I do not think they have anything to do with him. Romney takes money and help from Donald Trump. I don't care. He is not Trump and has already said he doesn't agree with Trumps birther nonsense.

    Anyone who hangs either Romney or Obama based on this stuff is just a partisan hypocrite.

    May 30, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  10. pgriff

    Can Mr. Trump please gather some hard evidence to support his claim that President Obama's birth certificate is not genuine. Surely, a good investigative forensics laboratory can accomplish this and I think Mr. Trump can afford to do this. Either put up or shut up.

    May 30, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  11. midwest

    To RS CA – Can you explain why your beloved Mitt won't release his tax returns? What's the problem? Could it be those off-shore accounts?

    May 30, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  12. The King

    Note the air of indignation in trumps voice from the beginning. This guy really thinks he's something special, when the reality is he's a reality show star...like snooki. He obsesses over this nonsensical birth cert issue, but when called on it, he cries foul. Just the same, I hope he spreads his vile, pompous face all over the country from now until november. Right behind palin and limbaugh, he's one of our best players.

    May 30, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  13. HJA

    Mr Bankruptcy himself. He makes sure his money is covered so he only dumps the investor's cash. Talk about a bail out!

    May 30, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  14. Wake up people

    What I want to know is.....if President Obama is the worst POTUS in history (as some have stated). Why is his birth place such an issue? Shouldn't there be other things you can bring up? Also why is he the only POTUS to be asked for this proof? Where is Mittens' proof he was born here? Where are his transcripts? Oh stupid me, he doesn't require any proof, he has the one thing needed to be POTUS.....white skin. The GOP is so racist that it's pathetic. And people still want to pretend race has nothing to do with it.

    OBAMA 2012!

    May 30, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  15. Charles W. Skinner

    There's a couple of easier ways to see if something shady is going on here.

    Have President Obama release his College and Law School applications. That should tell us something about where he claimed to be born. We know he went to Occidental on a "Foreign" scholarship. Let's see where he claimed to be from.

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

    People, it DOESN'T MATTER WHERE HE WAS BORN. The Constitutions does not say you have to be born in the U.S. to become president; it says you have to be born a natural citizen of the U.S. And as long as one of your parents is a U.S. citizen, you are a natural U.S. citizen at birth. If your mother is a U.S. citizen (no one is disputing that for Obama as far as I know) then you're in. My daughter was born in Switzerland while I was on assignment overseas – she has a certificate of birth abroad from the U.S. State Dept and she is not a Swiss citizen. She can grow up to be president. If you're saying she can't, then you're also denying the children of U.S. service members who are born overseas the right to grow up to be president.

    May 30, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  17. Patriot Awesome

    Why hasn't Trump asked to see Romney's birth certificate? Wasn't his dad born in Mexico?

    May 30, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  18. JD

    Trump proves you don't have to be smart to be rich. Yes, Donald alot of people don't believe it was an authentic certificate but that doesn't make it true.

    May 30, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  19. BLKMANinAmerica

    Stupid is as STUPID does and he and everyone else who continues to uphold this CRAZY banner are just plan STUPID.

    May 30, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  20. Jerry

    You elected HIM...

    Two years ago, a Florida company hired a young woman. Smart, hard-working, dedicated and armed with her master's degree. She had a lot of bright ideas and willingness to help the company. When she was asked what she had learned from her time with the company, she replied that she had completely underestimated the value of REAL-WORLD business experience.

    Nothing we see about our country's economic problems, and now about Solyndra's and other tax-payer funded misadventures should surprise us. Is there anyone on Mr. Obama's economic team, or for that matter in Democratic congressional leadership, who has any successful REAL-WORLD business experience?! Is it any wonder we can't effectively address the country's economic and other issues?

    But ultimately, do you know whose fault this is? YOURS! (I did not vote for Mr. Obama.) Almost everyone knew Senator Obama had absolutely no experience in running much of anything, much less a business. Yet, you voted him in based on image, emotion, and a bunch of vague, hopeful ideas.

    I for one am ready for experience and boring, with a proven track record of economic and other successes.

    May 30, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  21. Me Again

    Wolf, as long as you were at it, why didn't you tell the Donald how ridiculous his hair looks?

    May 30, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  22. pa10sion

    Please will somebody shut this blowhole up. I cannot stand to be remiinded day in and day out how simple minded we've become to actually give this idiot a microphone and an audience. Are there really people out there that think our government is that inept that our officials are incapable of validating a birth certificate? Really? After 200+ years, we haven't nailed down that process yet??? Dear lord! Get over yourselves. The president is an American! Move on already!!!!

    May 30, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  23. MikeMazzla

    I dont mind Donald bringing this up because it continues to tarnish any credibility the republican party has by showing they are populated by nutcases.

    May 30, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  24. Wake up people

    Have Mittens release his birth certificate, his tax forms and his college transcripts. You people have too much nerve. You nobodies have the nerve to press the POTUS for college transcripts when it has never been done before! If I were President Obama I wouldn't release ish. Not one other POTUS has been scrutinized so deplorably. I wouldn't have even released my birth certificate. Deal with it hicks, a black man is running the show!

    OBAMA 2012!

    May 30, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  25. LineInTheSand

    This is all nonsense, of course an independent document examiner has actually verified that HI DoH has original 1961 birth documents......haven't they?? What??? They haven't??????

    Obama's never claimed to have been born in Kenya....what? He has??? In publication from the late 1990's until 2007????

    But the police have checked this and there's no case....what?? They've checked and there's 'probable cause' that his b.c. is a forgery??????

    Gee.....you can't get any of this from the news!!!.........

    May 30, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43