May 29th, 2012
05:12 PM ET
3 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. Tallone

    "China and how they're taking our jobs and taking our product" Trump bellows.
    Hah, jobs were and are eagerly being "sent" to China. The Chinese don't have
    to do anything. Jobs and technology gladly given by Big Business.
    If Obama wins or loses, he will be the only colored Pesidemt the U.S. will ever
    have. The bigotry and racism is too great.

    May 29, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  2. Hons Dieter

    The question remains as to why Obama was unwilling to release his birth certificate and college records. Why was it discussed in the Congress of Kenya that Obama was born there? Where is the news media on this, if it was Pres. Bush they would be all over this story. Remember Dan Rather and his concocted story? How about his religion of Islam, if he was not still a Muslim no Muslim would meet with him. This a religion you can,t leave especially to become a Christian. Until all of the questions concerning Obama are answered he should be suspended from office and future office. At least Mr Trump has the guts to pursue this but the media sure doesn,t.

    May 29, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  3. Ed

    Hey Snffit...the problem isn't with the MSM, which is universal in thinking this is ridiculous. The problem is with the LFM (Lunatic Fringe Media) which keeps bringing it up. note that I include Fox News in the LFM group.

    May 29, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  4. Dean

    Wondering why the liberals want Romney to waste his time on an issue that he has nothing to do with.

    May 29, 2012 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  5. Iamnotfooled

    Romney is desperate. What kind of a leader would he be if he can't stand up to these nut jobs.

    May 29, 2012 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  6. Fritz Hohenheim

    Kudos to Wolf for the spirit with which he took on Trump, I love how he doesn't let him slither his way out of many questions

    May 29, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  7. KM

    Romney would do well to distance himself from Trump now, before irreparable damager is done to his campaign.

    May 29, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  8. mdesan

    Trump association with & support of Romney is the best thing to happen to Obama. Keep opening your mouth Donald, not that one would expect otherwise. What a tool.

    May 29, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  9. klamerus@pobox.com

    The general behavior seems to be that when you're way out on a limb, you just yell louder.

    Besides all these birthers being complete wack jobs, Trump is an egomaniac. Why give him the attention he so desperately creates with articles like this?

    May 29, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  10. AgrippaMT

    Once again, Donald Trump proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that he is a pure, unadulterated swine. Of course, we've all known that for a long time now. He's free to continue his raving, it only helps reaffirm that President Obama will be reelected by a comfortable majority.

    May 29, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  11. mendrys

    Donald Trump is an absolute disgrace and he is fast losing credibility. I think its also a matter of opinion that Donald was born to evil space aliens bent on world domination. Of course, I can't prove anything and this is against all other evidence to the contrary but its my opinion and anyone who disagrees with me is just a Trump errand boy.

    May 29, 2012 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  12. hjh

    I think we need a more immediate investigation into the origins of whatever that thing is on donald trump's head.

    May 29, 2012 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  13. PC

    I have interviewed and submitted the official information for many births as a medical records administrator. First, not all of the info goes on the "official" copy of a BC. Second, in those days hospitals submitted the information re. live births of legitimate babies to local newspapers, parents did not. Third, if there does not happen to be a medical record surviving that hospitalization it is becaue the records only have to be kept as long as the state law requires, so, if there is not surving record, it was probably destroyed rather than arrchived, along with others.

    May 29, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  14. vic , nashville ,tn

    Journalism still alive thanks Wolf , I was watching it was great

    May 29, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  15. 60minuteman

    The only thing Trump knows for certain is,
    1)- How to pull the media's strings, &
    2)- There's a sucker born every minute.

    May 29, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  16. nvmature

    Uh oh, here we go again. Time to call out Seth Meyers from Saturday Night Live again. Trump is so full of himself.

    May 29, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  17. Joke

    I'm wondering - is there a new season of 'The Apprentice' coming up? The only time 'The Donald" says anything is when he's hawking that show.

    May 29, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  18. midogs2

    've been wondering if Donald was suffering from Alzheimer's. It's now been verified by his coversation this afternoon with Wolf.

    May 29, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  19. adibaro

    talk about journalist, and getting to the truth, with some cold, hard facts – go blitz!

    May 29, 2012 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  20. Rachel Sue

    Isn't freedom of speech in the US wonderful? Even such dubious experts on any matter far and wide like Trump can spew forth on any subject and be heard. And to boot, even consider running for President. America: a work in progress to be sure.

    May 29, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  21. Lizzy10

    I cannot believe ANYONE still believes this, much less someone who claim's to be so politically adept. Donald Trump is just showing how idiotic he was, is and always will be.

    May 29, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  22. JBS

    BAHAHAHA! The Donald can forget about any possibilities he may have had to be chosen for role of VP wannabe. (However, I sure do hope MIttens chooses him anyway! We need the comedy!)

    May 29, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  23. Kris

    Donald, you don't just sound ridiculous, you 'define' ridiculous...

    May 29, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  24. Anon

    The birther movement is incredibly stupid and needs to stop.

    Donald Trump, do you truly believe that the conspiracy began in 1961, as Blitzer asked you? By who? Why? If Obama's mother was supposedly in Kenya when she gave birth, who put the birth announcement in the Honolulu paper days later? Do you seriously think that in 1961, she made a long-distance phone call from Kenya to Hawaii? Do you have any idea how impossible that would have been – not to mention downright obvious? And WHY would she need to prove her child was born on U.S. soil (which he was)? Did she know that he would be the President of the United States some day?

    Why would a very pregnant college student suddenly fly from Hawaii to Kenya to give birth? This is 1961 we're talking about, flights couldn't fly as far or fast. I could just barely afford plane tickets for a 45-minute flight back when I was in college. How could she possibly afford international tickets to the other side of the planet? While VERY pregnant, no less?

    Are you seriously just dense? What is wrong with you people?

    I'm so tired of full blown racism trying to mask itself as something else.

    May 29, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  25. Ricksta

    I know it's hard to believe, but Donald Trump is a stupid as he looks.

    May 29, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
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