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. Campaign Tailspin Begins Now

    Tactically speaking, associating with Donald Trump was a huge blunder for Romney's campaign. Like a skilled sorcerer, Trump manages to take every bad impression of the modern GOP and mix them together into a gassy potion to dispel moderates and undecideds in droves. A little racism here, some 1% there, an Eye of Newt, a couple handfuls of birther paranoia...and presto! Obama by a landslide.

    May 30, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  2. Jay

    Trump is no politician,or former politician, he is just another billionaire who is in Romney's back pocket.

    May 30, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  3. Bob A.

    In my opinion, the birth certificate has been altered to read 1961 from the original 1981. Barak Obama is not even OLD enough to become president.

    May 30, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  4. kwoods

    Trump takes this one.
    All journalist need to stop defending the prez and start reporting the facts, not their opinions.
    Leave the opinions to the public & stop harrassing your guest Wolf.

    May 30, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  5. Mabc

    Duh. A newspaper reported that Obama was born in Kenya. Well that settles it. A newspaper has NEVER made an inaccurate statement about Trump, has it?

    May 30, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  6. mitzi

    Trump is full of it. If I was Romeny I would distance myself from him. I think he would do more harm than good.

    May 30, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  7. anagram_kid

    @Robert wrote:
    Perhaps, if POTUS released school records, applicantions for student loans and passport application -– it would end all questions. Why hide those anyway?
    -------------------------------------–
    And what will you ask for next, pictures he drew in kindergarten? If you are still asking is it because you are desperate to prove that President Obama is the ‘other’. You need a way to justify why a black man is more successful and accomplished than you. Get over it!

    May 30, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  8. Jomm

    Oh get over it already. Prez Obama has been in there 4 years and shown his birth cert.

    May 30, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  9. sarge

    Ha ha! And this guy thinks he will be the veep? His bluster is not an asset!

    May 30, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  10. TomNPitt

    Mitt Romney was born in Mexico – that's a fact. And there are many, many professionals and experts who also know it. Donald Trump knows it as well. He's trying to creat a diversion so Romney will not have to prove it. After he's elected, if he can get a Republican House and Senate to move his way, he'll immediately propose legislation to overule the old "Born in the US" rule, to be null and void. Along with Obama care and all the other thigs he claims he'll do on day one.

    May 30, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  11. jim

    Trump the tool acts like he's intelligent and people actully listen what he says. I think most people know he's nothing but hot air. He want's to talk about China taking US jobs, but he forgets to mention corporations sent the jobs to china.The guy had more backruptcies than any company out there. How can anyone take him series.

    May 30, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  12. combroker

    Jack, DT got bank bailouts before it was common for the Government to get in the act. He's making money NOW.

    May 30, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  13. Gordon Owens

    Poor Donald is off of his meds. Again!!!

    May 30, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  14. t3chn0ph0b3

    How is this news? Trump has always sounded ridiculous.

    May 30, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    "Honestly, I don't understand the ruckus here. If I were asked to produce my birth certificate, I have it here in a drawer in my bedroom. I'd hand it over within 24 hours. How many months (or years) did it take Obama to produce his? There's no doubt in my mind that the guy produced a falsified birth certificate. To think otherwise is pure lunacy. If it walks like a duck..."

    See, this is how you afterbirthers go off the rails. You do NOT have your birth certificate, you have a copy, probably a certified copy or Certificate of Live Birth (which is perfectly valid and is admissible evidence on all 50 states and the Federal courts). If you're going to post such obvious lies, why should anyone here take you or your fellow afterbirthers seriously?

    May 30, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  16. jim

    It's funny Trump agues one point about how anyone can print anything in the papaer regarding the Hawaii artical verifing Obama's birth. He then goes and argues that Obama was born in Kenya, proof..because it was printed in a new papaer.

    May 30, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  17. yuhmad

    For Trump to use this "birther" as a defense to deter voters from voting for President Obama and instead vote for Romney, just will not work. The issues are not based on the President Obama's birth certificate and this is not what the American people want to hear. Trump and his Republican cronies just want to pull down the President because it is black, simple!!!!

    OBAMA 2012 all the way.

    May 30, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    "All Romney has to say is it is a distraction. And so what? What is the harm? Why do the Libs have to get their knickers so twisted up over idle speculation about where Obama was born. It does not matter."

    The harm is that it allows the racists to take over the GOBP cult (happened already, it would seem). It's also about not allowing vile lies to go unrebutted. The GOBP cult has been lying for years. For the good of America, it needs to stop now.

    May 30, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  19. Xander

    0% of white presidents have been falsely accused of being constitutionally ineligible for president. 100% of black presidents have.

    Donald Trump is a racist who is so bitter that a black man is president that he has made considerable effort to create the illusion of "debate" whether or not Obama is constitutionally eligible to be president. He hopes this illusion of debate will trick enough people to change their votes that it alters the outcome of the next election.

    The same people who still believe there is legitimate scientific debate over whether or not tobacco is addictive and causes cancer.

    The media is playing right into his hands with articles like this because it helps fuel the illusion that there is legitimate debate on this subject. Lunatics should not get prime time media coverage, even if they are rich and famous.

    May 30, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    "Economy is number one, and Obama can't hide his failed economic policies behind sideshow distractions....."
    Your radical righty hatewingers keep referring to a rising Dow and falling unemployment as "failed economic policies" rather than correctly acknowledging that it is the GOBP cult's economic policies that are massive failures.

    May 30, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  21. Woman In California

    American or not (and I do believe he was born here). President Obama is much more American where it counts. Adding jobs v shipping them overseas, standing up for our military v running to France; and keeping his money in the U.S. v Swiss accounts. I'll take the American v the Amercian ANYDAY.

    May 30, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  22. Loathstheright

    Donald is only doing this to get air time for himself.

    May 30, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  23. tor5

    I would like for Trump to prove he was born. Many anonymous experts agree that he is not a real person, but merely a comic hologram created by French anarchists. No real person could possibly be that ridiculous.

    May 30, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  24. Person of Interest

    Trump interrupted, "Can you stop defending Obama?"

    I believe he is defending a fact. I'm not saying I like Obama (I just like Romney less) but seriously when a Republican Govenor says over and over again that he has seen the actual birth certificate and it is legit, can we not agree that it is fact? Why would a Republican defend it, if it weren't? Unless, you're trying to say the Republicans are also involved in the conspiracy.

    Hmmm...and the plot thickens. "Hey y'all here the Republicans is involved in this Obam ah conspiracy?"

    May 30, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    Paul
    Just a question. Just looking for the facts: Did, or did not Obama at some point in his life present himself as someone who was born in Kenya? Please, no mame calling. What are the factual answers to that question?

    The answer is he did NOT. Got it?

    May 30, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
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