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. Mikey

    @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 simple answer to your question is, as far as I know, NO! If he did, give us the proof. Otherwise all the birthers and other forms of non-issue based Obama haters should just simply shut their stupid, ignorant traps.

    May 29, 2012 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  2. Dennis

    Just looking at that ridiculous hairdo of his should be all that it would take to determine what a buffoon "the Donald"is!..Can anyone at all take this jerk seriously?..Why Romney would not denounce and distance himself from Trump shows the lack of character he has also.

    May 29, 2012 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  3. PJ/TX

    I'm proud of you Wolf. Standing up to Trump and calling him ridiculous was perfect and you are so right.
    The very best came after the interview when you were speaking to David Frum. Mr. Frum inadvertently said
    "Donald Rump". He corrected himself, but he was right the first time. George Will, Wolf Blitzer, David Frum
    telling it like it is.

    May 29, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    "Kenyan ambassador admits in 2008 then canidate obama was born in Kenya.The interveiw was on a detroit radio station WRIF."

    WRIF is a rock radio station, not a news station. You apparently caught a parody done by the crew and fell for it like a sucker.

    May 29, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  5. works4me

    Trump AND Romney need to be wiping each others chins...

    May 29, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  6. p

    Romney wants to be POTUS, and sucks up to this maniac?
    Thanks Mitt, but NO THANKS.

    May 29, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  7. JRH

    Donald Trump is proof positive that you don't have to be either intelligent or smart (not the same thing) to be rich. Just the opposite. Apparently his money has made him a blithering (word I can't use here).

    May 29, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  8. CoolHair

    I love Trump's comeback.

    "You're a towel"

    "No...YOU'RE A TOWEL!!!"

    May 29, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  9. arale norimaki

    Donald Trump is a loser. Anybody can go bankrupt once, three times, means you are a loser, or is taken advantage of the system. I do not pay attention to losers!

    May 29, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  10. david

    Trump and this birther stuff is ridiculous.

    May 29, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  11. sftommy

    Does Trump have a Birth Certificate for his hair? If his hair looks that phony now, could we even trust a birth certificate presented by him? How did it get into this country? Was it an outsourced job to foreign power? Does Donald's hair have a green card to even be in this country? Could Donald's hair be extradited? What role did China play in doing Donald's do? Does he owe foreign powers for that "look"?

    May 29, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  12. kate

    What people also forget is that Obama chose to release his birth certificate at the time when he was closing in on Bin Laden. People scoffed at the time that Obama was "caving" to Trump, when the reality is that this was a master stroke of strategy to deflect attention by the media and the world away from the operation. Meanwhile why doesn't Trump insist Romney produce HIS long form birth cert. And does he really think the entire state of Hawaii is in on this conspiracy? And what does it say about Romney that he's willing to bend to even someone this delusional in order to get to his 50.1%? Wow, what a pathetic goal to have and what a demeaning way to get there.

    May 29, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  13. Michael

    1. Like everyone is saying, stop reporting on it if you want Trump to shut up.
    2. He is allowed to believe what he wants. Why does it bother Wolf so much what Trump thinks?
    3. It does seems as if Trump was ambushed by Wolf.
    4. Why do so many interviewers and guest on CNN insist on talking over each other. It is so annoying.

    May 29, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  14. Mrs G

    And Trump goes on and on about China but his current wife sells a jewelry line on one of the shopping networks and it is made in China. Trump is a two-bit phony.

    May 29, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  15. Chuck in Jasper, Ga.

    Trump is nothing more than an attention seeking twit. Anybody with more than 50 brain cells knows that this issue was put to bed long ago and is nothing more than an attempt to deflect attention from the positive gains in the economic status and unemployment gradually being reduced. When you have no real reason to oppose someone, you create a reason. Such is the case with Trump.

    May 29, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  16. BeverlyNC

    Romney has proven he is man of no character, no principles. who supports the birther movement, discrimination against women, the poor, and Hispanics and workers with his own words saying so. Now he has exposed himself as a bigot who who do and say anything to get money from a racist who still insists President Obama is not American.
    Romney is no leader and if he cannot even stand up to Trump how can he possibly stand up for America in foreign policy matters or stand up for ALL Americans?? He can't and is therefore not qualified for office. He is also a constant liar who when asked serious questions on the issues, refuses to answer, and then makes up lies about President Obama. Facts matter to intelligent voters. Romney could care less about facts, People, and takes a 1960s view of racism and no rights or respect for non-whites. Goodbye Romney. You are one sorry human being.

    May 29, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  17. MrManhattan

    Why does anyone care what a TV character has to say?

    May 29, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  18. blaqb0x

    Can we please see Romney's Marriage Certificate to prove he's not a polygamist.

    May 29, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  19. Johnc

    Trump has lost all respect from me. I use to admire him. Just shut up Donald.

    May 29, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  20. DaveCarolina

    Let Trump continue on with his craziness. It will do nothing but hurt Romney. If Romney has any sense and any character at all, he will quickly distance himself completely from Trump. (of course, Romney won't do that before tonight's big fundraiser!!).

    May 29, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  21. Jack

    The irony, of course, is that John McCain was actually not born in the United States. Although, we never hear anyone talk about that. Not questioning his citizenship....but he was not born in the USA.

    May 29, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  22. Romney is not My Hero

    Is that THING on Tramp's head a citizen? Oh, by the way – Thanks for derailing the campaign of EVERY person you have endorsed!

    OBAMA 2012!

    May 29, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  23. Lynn

    Wolf says he "doesn't understand why Donald won't let the birthed issue go" , come on Wolf! You say you know Donald? Then you should know why he can't let it go, EGO!! He would have to admit he was wrong!! Donald be wrong?? Never in his world!

    May 29, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  24. Amy

    I have no doubt that President Obama was born in Hawaii.... I am sick of Donald Trump and his mouth.. If Obama was born in Kenya what difference does it make when his mother was born in America therefore making him a American citizen.

    May 29, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  25. Como

    Trump is an entertainer with no more impact than Streisand. Each uses their money to buy air time. I am more concerned by a President that embraced and now refuses to condemn violent Occupy protests.

    May 29, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
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