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. TomCom

    Trunmp really comes across as an idiot!

    May 29, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  2. SPQR

    The only time CNN gets bad ratings or looses their audience is when Donald Trump comes on.

    May 29, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  3. John Puccio

    Clearly, Trump is on another crazy rant; the question is why a legitimate Presidential candidate would have anything to do with him or Tea Party types like him. Romney can only lose by so blatantly courting the far right-wing Tea Party folks who will vote for him anyway, while he loses the vote of moderate Republicans. I can't imagine what he's thinking, unless he feels the Tea Party and its billionaire backers are so powerful he MUST bow down to them.

    May 29, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  4. rzarc2

    And to think I thought Romney might be Presidential material 3-1/2 years ago. How silly of me. This so-called POTUS candidate shows us more every day he is not cut out for the job. In fact all he is cut out for is the Wall Street churn and burn for your own self-interest the business and/or country be damned crowd. He still has a couple of months to grow a pair and cut a narcissist like Trump down to size. Until he does that he is a joke with humor at all.

    May 29, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  5. John Rgood

    Trump has a lot of good qualities. He creates jobs and makes money. He's a celebrity that draws attention that's more positive than Jeremiah Wright, should we talk about judgement calls now?

    May 29, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  6. Carolyn Williams

    Donald Trump is soooooo mean and dishonest... I am an Afro-America and I am tire of we as a People always have to prove our self.. I remmber the day President Barack Obama had to show his Birth Cetificate it remined me of my ancestors showing there "Freedom Papers"

    May 29, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  7. CAL USA

    When the controversy developed around the views of Reverend Wright, Obama quickly and convincingly denounced them. Contrast that with Romeny's cowardice regarding Trump who is more than a supporter,but a clear surrogate. Mr. Romney, heres' a different dog story than the one you've become famous for. You lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas.

    May 29, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  8. rzarc2

    And to think I thought Romney might be Presidential material 3-1/2 years ago. How silly of me. This so-called POTUS candidate shows us more every day he is not cut out for the job. In fact all he is cut out for is the Wall Street churn and burn for your own self-interest the business and/or country be darned crowd. He still has a couple of months to grow a pair and cut a narcissist like Trump down to size. Until he does that he is a joke with humor at all.

    May 29, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  9. Don

    how does ANYONE know where they were born? You only know where you were told you were born. I base this on Obamas accusers saying he wasn't born in the USA and his birth certificate is faked. So, apparently, anyones birth certificate could be fake by that logic.

    May 29, 2012 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  10. Smerlap Kent, WA

    I wish the media, and this was an opportunity lost woudl educate the American people on what is meant bt the term Natural Born citizen. John McCain was born in the Panama Canal zone which was an American protectorate at the tiem,but not "America" The key is he was born to American citizens. Even if Obama had been born in Kenya his mothers citizenship would have conferred "natural born" status on the President. All of this ignores the facts that Hawaii state officals have certifed Barrack Obama was born in an Hawaiian hospital in 1964, fours years after Hawaii became a state. Can Donald Trump prove he was born in the United States to the level of proof he seems to be demanding. The whole thing is racist. The media is not doing its job of explaining things

    May 29, 2012 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  11. SPQR

    Donald Trump's comments about anybody really say more about him and the kind of person he is.

    Donald stop embarrasing yourself and your family.

    May 29, 2012 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  12. Richard Lense

    With regard to Mr. Trump, he is a narcissist and an egomaniac whose thirst for recognition allows him to be an untreated boil on the american landscape. His opinions, for the most part, are unsupported by the facts and his responses to interviewers (other than the clones on Fox) are typically in the form of incoherent hyperbole and childlike insults. Kudos to Wolf Blitzer for not falling into the "Donald Trap" as he calmly and professionally continued with the interview despite the Donald's unsuccessful attempt to attack Wolf's ratings or the viewership audience that is CNN. I wish someone would ask Mr. Trump why most of his Atlantic City casinos have failed miserably (or, in some instances, have been taken over by his lenders).

    May 29, 2012 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  13. JoJo

    There's almost certainly no truth to this "birther" stuff but even if there was, I can't believe the cruelty of these accusers trying to destroy a man's life with this nonsensical technicality over which Obama has no control. Why didn't they shout about McCain being born in Panama?

    May 29, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  14. Su

    This is such an OLD story, Donald! Just when we think you're out of the picture, you once again pop up and open your big mouth over such a TRIVIAL and UNTRUE thing. Don't you have businesses to run? Pul-leeze!

    May 29, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  15. Idiot

    really. the vetting process for President isn't a cake walk. do you really think they would miss something like this. it has been proven. GET OVER IT.

    May 29, 2012 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  16. midwestmatt

    Donald Trump is not worth our time and now he's showing that he's willing to lie in the face of irrefutable evidence that Obama was born in Hawaii (confirmed by the then Republican Hawaiian governor, the doctor that delivered Obama and the official in charge of such records) and he's now trying to bring down a legally elected POTUS through any means possible. IOW- Trump is leading a treasonous effort to remove the highest elected official in the U.S. through lies and subterfuge. Try him, and all his well heeled conspirators (The Kochs), for treason and throw them in jail for life.

    May 29, 2012 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  17. judith

    Keep blabbing, Donald. You are nothing but bad news for Mittens. Associating with you just makes him look pathetic, desperate and completely without principle. In fact, I wish he'd pick you for a running mate–you'd surpass Sarah Palin as a laughingstock.

    May 29, 2012 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  18. Mike

    Trump sounds like Joe McCarthy from the Red Scare hysteria of the 1950s.

    May 29, 2012 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  19. Ron

    This great! The more Trump does this, the more Romney is shown to have no integrity. And this is just the beginning. Trump is a loose cannon. He's going to say more stuff that will embarrass Romney before it's over. Romney only want his money for the campaign and the support of the radical right wing elements. But ultimately it's going to cost him lots of independents (and the few moderate Republicans that are left).

    May 29, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  20. String Bean

    I think it would be easier to just bring out the Presidents teachers begining at 1st grade and let them talk about the "student". Then bring out a dozen or so of his friends during school and talk about their childhood. This should be very easy to do. As a matter of fact I would suggest bringing in former staff from the hospital where he was born. Blitzer should be able to do an hour long segment as proof. This could end this stupid subject once and for all. Then maybe CNN could focus on some usefull questions of guests concerned about leading America instead of bashing anyone that doesn't agree the interviewer.

    May 29, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  21. Don in Boston

    Trump's hatred gets automatic legitimacy when CNN covers him. Please CNN just ignore this idiot. It's not news. STOP giving him so much attention!

    May 29, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  22. Chipster

    It's quite disappointing to see Romney courting this fool. Trump's specialty is suckering people into investing in businesses that go bankrupt while he walks away with the money. That proves that there are a lot of fools with money but who would have expected Romney to be among them? Hmmm....now that I think about it, maybe they have more in common that I thought.

    May 29, 2012 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  23. GOPlies

    Trump is just in it for the publicity. He is like Sarah Palin with a comb over... Quit feeding this attention queen. Lets not forget that he helped get Obama in the white house to begin with.

    May 29, 2012 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  24. 1zb1

    Trump is obeses and a loud mouthed bully. He can't control what goes into his mouth or what comes out of it.

    May 29, 2012 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  25. brian in denver

    The longer the "Trump Label" is part of the conservative campaign, the better for Obama. Go Donald!

    May 29, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
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