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. Wake up people

    Thank you anagram kid! What next a DNA sample??? This is bordering on insanity. The President has already done something no other POTUS was ever asked to do and he did it. Now you want more from him?? Where will this insanity end? And will Mittens be releasing his birth certificate, transcripts and tax records anytime soon?? Oh silly me, Mittens doesn't need any of those things because he has white skin.

    OBAMA 2012!

    May 30, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  2. David

    The birth certificate has dozens of errors. I would think our Gov't could produse a better phony that didnt look like it was printed this morning.

    May 30, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Who does Trump think he is? Sarah Palin?

    May 30, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  4. Rick

    His association with Clown Donald proves one thing: Mitt Romney can be bought.

    May 30, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  5. FLIndpendent

    Trump used to be a Democrat and one has to wonder if he is still keeping on this birther thing to make Mittens look worse than he already does. Maybe Trump is secretly trying to crater the GOP once and for all. That, or else, he's just gone off the deep end and maybe thinks he'll can be Mittens' VP.

    May 30, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  6. QDV

    It amazes me that a man who lies about his hair claims that someone else lies about his birth certificate. Come on, Trump, take the wild animal off of your head and let's see what you're hiding.

    May 30, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  7. BriSoFla

    Romney's birth certificate is a fake and was born in Mexico. Trump is a liar and just trying to distract everyone from this truth. We all need to view and touch Romney's long form birth certificate over and over. Romney is an illegal immigrant from Mexico and not eligible to be President except in Mexico where he was born. No matter how much "proof" Romney provides, he is still an illegal alien and needs to be deported ASAP. //sarcasm off.

    May 30, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    "Obama could have made this a non-issue years ago but instead he paid to have all of his records clamped down including his college transcripts. The media was all over vetting George Bush's transcripts so why not Obama's?"

    Oh really. Bush could have released his military service records and did not. Rmoney destroyed or is hiding records from his MA governorship, his Bain record (included his alleged "job creation" numbers), his tax returns and disclosure of his overseas holdings. You have a VERY selective, or defective, memory.

    May 30, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  9. CanadaONE

    seriously!!! trump needs to go to jail – 15 years shoud do it – he won't last five

    May 30, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  10. glenn

    @ Xander- I agree. When Arnold was thinking about possibly running for president (before his mistress came out with a child) there were many people who thought the constitution should be amended to allow for someone who was not born in the US but was a citizen to run for the presidency, yet when a black man wins the presidency, many of these same white republicans feel that he must be born in the US and that it must be impossible for him to actually have been born here. FIrst of all who cares. Isn't the whole idea of America to be the land of opportunity. Someone born outside of America coming in to eventually run the country sounds like a perfect story, even though this is not the case for Obama. and on one last note, how can Trump argue that a government form from HAwaii is illegitimate, yet he defends his claim off someone who published a note about Obama being born in Kenya and has since come out and apologized for the false claim. Trump sounds like an ignorant racist bastard if you ask me.

    May 30, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  11. Craig V

    So if the Donald is right, how can we ever be sure Romney was born in the US? After all, his father was born in a forgiegn country, too.

    May 30, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  12. dowhatifeellike

    Show me where it says you have to be born on U.S. soil to be President.

    People are mixing two clauses.

    Clause 1: You must be a natural born citizen. This means at least one of your parents must be a U.S. citizen and they must apply to have you naturalized. This can happen no matter where you are born.

    Clause 2: Anyone born on U.S. soil is a natural born citizen, regardless of parental citizenship.

    What this means is that even if President Obama wasn't born on American soil, he was still born to an American citizen and naturalized.

    To take this one step farther, Mitt Romney's father was born in Mexico to a Mexican father and American mother. During the Sr. Romney's short-lived presidential run, it was determined that being born to an American woman and becoming naturalized was good enough to be eligible for POTUS.

    May 30, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC


    Donald Trump's mother was a Scot, his grandparents were German – seems his citizenship is a questionable as the Presidents
    Donald Trump released his birth certificate last year. He was born in Jamaica.....Jamaica, Queens, New York.

    May 30, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    "So state officials in Hawaii are deemed "experts" to validate the latest birth certicate submission, but any other person, including Sheriff Arpaio in Arizonna, is "ridiculous" if he questions the authenticity. I remember how RIDICULOUS the National Enquirer was for revealing John Edwards affair."

    If you don't see the error in your "logic" there is no hope for you. HINT: Just because one thing happened doesn't prove the other did. And the State of Arizona has already investigated President Obama and confirmed he was born in Hawaii and will appear on the ballot. Arpaio is just trying to divert attention from the fact he is in deep trouble for being a thug rather than a law enforcement officer.

    May 30, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  15. dowhatifeellike

    Mitt's father was born in Mexico to an American woman and Mexican man. Mitt's father was cleared to run for POTUS, so what's different here?

    May 30, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  16. Tom

    Isn't the GOP the same party that wanted to amend our constitution a few years back in order to allow non-natural citizens to run for president? (Specifically, Arnold Schwarzenegger)

    May 30, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  17. Erik B.

    How do we know Donald Trump was born in the U.S.? Has he publicly released his birth certificate yet?

    May 30, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  18. dowhatifeellike

    And for the record, nothing says you have to be born on U.S. soil to be President.

    You are a natural born citizen if 1) you are born on U.S. soil or military outpost OR 2) if at least one of your parents is an American citizen and they file to have you naturalized.

    May 30, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  19. Constantly Amazed


    @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 |


    I agree with you 100%.

    May 30, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    "It's Obama's fault no matter how you look at it. When running for President, at the very LEAST you should be able to provide your proof of birth when asked for it. "

    He provided it TWICE! Afterbirthers simply won't accept what 50 state courts and all federal courts consider conclusive evidence.

    May 30, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  21. Billy, NYC

    Romney wil say whatever to get votes; stand with whoever to get money; and lie whenever to get attentions.
    He has no backbone whatsoever and should not be the President to represent US. He should be ashame of himself.

    May 30, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  22. Hal

    Trump probably believes the moon landing was a hoax.

    May 30, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  23. FLIndpendent

    @CalmerVoice – "While the birth issue is important, can any of you dems provide a list of Obama achievements? Why do you stand up for him? What do you expect from the next 4 years? Let's discuss this in a logical & civilized way."
    Ok, let's discuss this in a logical way (if you know what logical means!). Logical would be doing some simple research and finding a very long list of Obama's accomplishments. This President has done way more good in 3 1/2 years than Bush ever did in 8 and without the help of a Congress that would work with him. Anything that hasn't gotten done was due to the Repub filibusters and vow to make this President a one-termer.

    May 30, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  24. Mike

    Anonymous, it's not idle speculation; it's a direct challenge to the legitimacy of his Presidency, and (usually and probably) a poorly veiled attack on his ethnicity.

    That said; God love him– I think Trumps going to bag this thing... for Obama.

    May 30, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  25. johnsonj3

    Why is the press keeping this mess in the news for Trump? the president has proved he was born in the USA.
    Trumps have two wifes who were not bron in the USA so wht the heck is he talking about? His children are all mixed.

    May 30, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
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