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. Brian

    People who still believe Obama isn't an American shouldn't even be allowed to vote anymore. Seriously, if you're this stupid, to ignore the overwhelming evidence that Obama is an American, the future of this country shouldn't be in your hands.

    May 30, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Mitt Romney says he is not responsible nor agreeable to everything "one of his supporters" may so or do. That much is true. But, Mitt Romney fails to recognize that Donald Trump is not a mere supporter. Trump is a Romney surrogate that campaigns and speaks on Mitt Romney's behalf.

    When a Romney supporter speaks, that supporter speaks for their self.
    When a Romney surrogate speaks, that surrogate speaks on behalf of Mitt Romney.

    May 30, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  3. Vincent

    Does Donald have a new show to promote? A new book? a new building?

    Hes just around for his own agenda and promotion to feel as though hes still worthwhile. Im a fiscal conservative, and i think hes a clown who just distracts from important issues with hype and sideshows. He provides no evidence to back up his wild claims, but expects others to take him seriously and offer proof ?
    This is almost like tabloid journalism.

    May 30, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  4. MPeters

    Basically, what we are arguing about is whether what some literary person wrote above Obama in a preface to one of his books trumps (pun intended) an actually authenticated, certified public record of an American State?

    And its not racism, right? Sure. Whatever you have to tell yourself to sleep at night. Might as well just say, "Hey! He's black, with a Muslim middle name! HE'S A TERRORIST!" Just be honest with yourselves.

    May 30, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  5. julie

    just smokescreen and mirrors folks that's all..............WHAT ARE the real issues...........can anyone believe THIS is still a sore spot with far-right retards............even if he were born on the moon his MOTHER is american

    some folks just hate anything to try to get a BLACK man out of the WH..................SORRY FOLKS Obama will get a sceond term as the summer rolls by and more stuff comes out about willard and ESPECIALLY if trump is still attached to willard trump will be willard's palin WATCH AND SEE the show

    May 30, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  6. j green

    I wonder if employees, that work for the casinos and hotels are intimidate by their rich bosses?

    May 30, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  7. MrApplesauce

    Since we all know this election is going into the gutter, I can't wait until the Mormon stuff starts.

    May 30, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  8. Susan

    Trump seems to be obsessed about this birth certificate thing. Or maybe it is just something to sort of cast a shadow, true or untrue about Obama. Another weird thing that someone said is that Obama is turning America over to the United Nations!"O) :O) :O) !!!! Where do people come up with this stuff?? Fox News?Obama is the only candidate with a lot of intelligence. He is the only candidate with ethics. He is the only candidate who is not mean. Republicans have become so mean. I'm surprised that the American people don't protest these sleezy racist remarks. That's what it is about in the end. History books will not be kind to the elections of 2012. Picture this if you want to scare yourself to death: President: Money Bags Romney Vice President: Annie Oakley (Palin) Secretary of State: Buffalo Bill (John McCain.

    May 30, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    You know you're a Romney....when you embrace a birther.

    May 30, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  10. itsonlyfair

    And this is EXACTLY the reason that the push for "voter ID" by conservatives is simply a red herring. If they can't accept a long form birth certificate from the state of Hawaii as valid ID, what's going to prevent them from constantly questioning other forms of ID presented by voters? It's all just a ruse to try and introduce arbitrary and unsubstantiated challenges to citizenship and voting rights. I'm sure it will only be a matter of time before the "voter ID" states start passing laws that allow staffers at the polls to challenge the authenticity of the ID you present for no reason.

    May 30, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    "I want to see Mittie's birth certificate also."

    He posted it online Tuesday. His father was born in Mexico. His grandparent's uprooted and denounced their citizenship from the U.S. and moved to Mexico to avoid polygamist prosecution in the United States. Mitt's father was born while the Romney family lived in a polygamist colony in Mexico. At some point, the family relocated to the U.S. wherein the Romney family received 100,000 dollars from our government to relocate to the U.S.

    His father also ran for President of the United States, arguing that he was a natural born citizen. That HIS parents denouced their citizenship suggests otherwise and has been debated many times over.

    This is not a conversation Mitt Romney wants to have.

    May 30, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  12. charles

    I don't blame Donald Trump, I blame the republican Party and their Nominee. When did a party go this low, to appease to ignorant, self righteous, gay bashing " Even though some of them are gay in closet", old, dusty, hateful, insincere individuals!!!!! Mitt Romey if you cannot form your opinion now that you are running for president, how can you form one when you become President!! Then it's too late. Dude have a backbone. Also Speaker Banner, where is the leadership!!!

    May 30, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  13. Robert

    Perhaps, if POTUS released school records, applicantions for student loans and passport application -– it would end all questions. Why hide those anyway?

    May 30, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  14. Santosaint

    REAL journalists do not and would never make themselves the story! Wolf Blitzer is just another proud and opinionated commentator and has never been a journalist.

    May 30, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  15. Gloria

    This birther stuff is so tiresome!! Suddenly, the Donald has to bring it up again. What a bore!!

    May 30, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  16. CanadaONE

    Canada thinks Trump is a trump and should be placed under arrest for anti Amercian utterings or atleast someone should lauch a lawsuit for his lies – YOU will notice I have spelled AMERCIA wrong in keeping with how Romney recenlty spelled it –

    God Bless the Unated Stits of Amercia – at elast to try to get a president who can spell

    Love Canada

    May 30, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  17. Phil

    For once, I agree with Blitzer... Trump DOES sound ridiculous. He has since he stuck his nose into the race last year. It's almost as though he's playing the saboteur. He's done a bunch of campaigning for Democrats in the past. Even ran as one once. At least when Nugent goes off, he goes off passionately about things he really cares about. Trump.... just a hack.

    May 30, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  18. Delilah

    Goofy people claim that, even with President Obama being born in Hawaii, he is not a natural born citizen. By that calculation, that means Willard Mitt Romney is not a natural born citizen, his father was born in Mexico. How is the right going to spin (er, I mean "explain") this one?

    May 30, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  19. jack

    Donald Trump's mother was a Scot, his grandparents were German – seems his citizenship is a questionable as the Presidents.

    DT is good at making money (most of the time) – just not good policy

    May 30, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    "His grandparent's uprooted and denounced their citizenship from the U.S. and moved to Mexico to avoid polygamist prosecution in the United States."

    This is how internet rumors start, so I will correct myself. George Romney's grandparents, not his parents, fled to Mexico. George WAS born in Mexico, however.

    May 30, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  21. Santosaint

    @ CanadaONE – why don't you stick to commenting on the problems within your own country! Additionally, we don't lock people up for speaking out against the government. Maybe that happens in your commonwealth but in a democracy you have the right to free speech, regardless if it is true or not. Although Romney can't spell, he has been able to achieve much wealth so I don't think he is all that dumb. I guess in Canada it's more important on spelling the words right than the achievements of an individual. Well CanadaONE keep being envious of our country but stay out of our politics.

    May 30, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  22. Pauletteb

    I'd respect Trump more if I thought he actually believed the birther nonsense. (I'd still think he was a moron, but respectfully.) He says these things out of a pathological need to seem important. Just like Paul can't disavow the beliefs of the white supremacy groups who flock to him as long as he accepts their donations, Romney will find himself tarred with the Trump brush.

    May 30, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  23. Joscar

    It's beyond ridiculous that Trump would reference a 20 year old blurb that someone else wrote and ignore a document that has been autheticated by the authorities in the state it was issued and a published birth announcement that was done LONG before anyone even had an inkling that this baby would one day grow up and run for President.

    May 30, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  24. wdwbunch

    So, I've heard that Donald Trump wasn't born in the USA, but in Chile and his name was Ronaldo Gutierrez. That his father adopted him there and paid the US Government $1million to give him a birth certificate that says born in New York, NY. Ridiculous? Well, is it really? He continues to not believe official documentation of President Obama's birth in Hawaii. Then why should I believe that Mr. Trump was born here. I guess this is what is called a two way street, aye?

    May 30, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  25. Delilah

    Conspiracy theories are nothing new for the the trumpet. He thought 9/11 was an inside job and the moon landing never happened. And Robmey hangs with this loser, making him a loser too.

    May 30, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
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