Romney campaign sticks with Trump, despite birther comments
May 26th, 2012
10:33 AM ET
10 years ago

Romney campaign sticks with Trump, despite birther comments

(CNN) – Donald Trump, whose penchant for questioning President Barack Obama's place of birth showed no signs of abating Friday, is helping presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney raise money. Isn't such close proximity to the "birther" conspiracy embarrassing for a candidate who's serious about becoming the next president?

That was the question posed by CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger to Romney's senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom Friday.

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"I can't speak for Donald Trump, but I can tell you that Mitt Romney accepts that President Obama was born in the United States," Fehrnstrom said on CNN's "The Situation Room."

Fehrnstrom, it turns out, doesn't need to speak for Trump. The celebrity business magnate spoke out for himself in a Friday interview with The Daily Beast, saying he still had questions about Obama's birthplace.

"Look, it's very simple," Trump said in the Daily Beast interview. "A book publisher came out three days ago and said that in his written synopsis of his book."

The interview continued, "He said he was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia. His mother never spent a day in the hospital."

Trump was referring to literary agency who, in a promotional catalogue from the 1990s, listed Obama has having been born in Kenya. An employee of the agency recently acknowledged that it was her mistake.

Trump isn't buying it.

"Now they're saying it was a mistake," he told the Daily Beast. "Just like his Kenyan grandmother said he was born in Kenya, and she pointed down the road to the hospital, and after people started screaming at her she said, 'Oh, I mean Hawaii.' Give me a break."

Obama released the long-form version of his birth certificate in April 2011, showing he was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961. Soon after it was released, Trump announced he would not make a bid for the GOP presidential nomination.

Trump's latest foray into birtherism comes just days ahead of a big campaign event with Romney in Las Vegas. The event, which will also feature former candidate Newt Gingrich, is set to take place Tuesday at Trump's International Hotel on the Strip.

Romney's campaign is also raffling a chance to have dinner with Trump for supporters who donate $3 to the campaign.

"I want you: Dine with the Donald," a campaign flier proclaims, along with a drawing of Trump in the post of Uncle Sam.

The campaign offers: "Airport transportation in the Trump vehicle; Stay at the Trump International Hotel & Tower New York; Tour the Celebrity Apprentice Boardroom; Dine with Donald Trump and Mitt Romney."

Will such close proximity to an avowed birther damage Romney's credibility? Their rivals certainly hope so. Obama's campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt labeled Trump the "birther in chief" on MSNBC Friday.

But Fehrnstrom, quoting a member of the Obama White House, said a politician's supporters don't speak for the candidate himself.

"You know, not too long ago, Jay Carney, the spokesman for the White House made a statement which I think is correct, and that statement was that a candidate can't be responsible for everything that their supporters say," Fehrnstrom said. "And in this case, Mitt Romney has made it clear that the place of the president's birth is not an issue for him. He accepts the fact that he was born in Hawaii. And we have many important challenges facing our country, and that's what we'd rather talk about."

Filed under: 2012 • Birthers • Donald Trump • Mitt Romney
soundoff (388 Responses)
  1. Norm

    I bet some of these right wing fanatics wish Fox would open their comments sections again.
    At least there they had a place to post their foolishness without getting laughed at by everyone.
    The Teabillys are just lost anywhere else they go.

    May 27, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  2. Natalie in MN

    Of course they do, they have no principles and are desperate. Romney's been pandering to anyone who'd give him the nod; what else is new? Certainly to presidential material, this empty suit.

    May 27, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  3. Edwin

    Trump does not speak for Romney - that is clear. But when Romney does not actively distance himself from Trump or his comments, then Trumps comments DO speak for Romney.

    Romney wants the birthers to believe in him, and he wants the non-birthers to believe in him. My guess: he will pick Trump as his VP. His analysts have decided that the frothy-mouthed birther movement is big enough to be a voting block.

    May 27, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  4. fayse

    Have at it Mitt, Stick with Trump and he will be your Sarah Palin. Which is fine with me.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    May 27, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  5. John

    Let's make a deal. We'll hold Romney accountable for everything Trump says, and we'll hold Obama accountable for everything Reverend Wright says. Deal?

    May 27, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  6. willynat

    Mitt Romney "accepts" that the President was born here and that "the place of The Presidents birth is not an issue". But he never says stop all this birther nonsense. He never says that there is no doubt that the president is legally qualified to be president. Romney is not a leader. He has no spine. He can't stand up to the nut jobs in his own party, how will he stand up to the rest of the world?

    May 27, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  7. JeffreyRO5

    You almost have to pity the GOP politicians: they have the nuttiest people among their voters! Do you remember McCain having to correct that woman who insisted that Obama was a Muslim? You have to wonder if the GOP politicians complain in private how ignorant their voters are, and why the Democrats don't get these nutjobs.

    To compare Donald Trump to a garden-variety nutty GOP voter, and say Romney doesn't have to account for his birtherism, is ridiculous: Trump is an integral part of the Romney campaign!

    May 27, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  8. nru

    why do we make hay about a carnival barker – Trump is just a self promoter, not someone to take seriously

    May 27, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  9. R2

    Folks – It really doesn't matter where he was born – his mother was a US Citizen and so is he. McCain wasn't born in the US either, so he wasn't able to run for president?

    May 27, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  10. GOP = Greed Over People

    Too bad the GOP did not spend all this "birther" noise when the on the search of the shrub's "missing" military records for that August he was supposed to in AL but no one could prove it 'cuz Pops had his records "sealed" during his presidency, think of the pain and shame this country would have been spared

    But then I forgot, the shrub is white.

    May 27, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  11. Courtney

    Donald Trump is not a guy I would want to hang around with. He is so full of himself and actually makes Mitt Romney look weak. If anyone has not noticed lately, the Romney campaign has copied everything the Obama campaign is doing. "Birthers", are only the crazies and not highly educated.

    May 27, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  12. Deep in the Heart of Texass!

    "Let's make a deal. We'll hold Romney accountable for everything Trump says, and we'll hold Obama accountable for everything Reverend Wright says. Deal?"

    Deal, but only if Reverend Wright is sharing the same stage with President Obama when he says it, 'k?

    May 27, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  13. Tony

    Not that the birthers care, but the FBI investigates all presidential candidates. Before the 2008 election, the FBI was under the Bush Administration, and it would not have tried to help Obama by suppressing information about Obama's birthplace. Both Hillary Clinton and John McCain could have sued to keep Obama off the ballot if there were any credible evidence. It is just laughable that some in the Republican Party still cling to the birther mythology. Both Trump and Romney know that there is nothing there. But Trump also knows that the easiest way for smart people to get ahead in this world is to take advantage of stupid people, like birthers, who are clueless. Trump is the same guy who said in 2008 that Bush may be the worst president ever and that Obama "has the chance to go down as a great president." Trump certainly was not concerned about Obama's birth certificate then.

    May 27, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  14. Peter

    I'd actually donate $3 to the campaign, just for the chance to slap that toupee of "the Donald's" stupid head. I mean have dinner with him and Mittens.

    May 27, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  15. Marie MD

    @one of the anonymous – "The larger issue is B.O. is a somewhat manufactured person with a manufactured resume created by the left wing establishment. That will never play well with many people."
    Why don't you reread your post and after you pick yourself off the floor for being lightheaded get a grip.
    You don't graduate from Columbia and you don't get into Harvard by faking anything about your grades (you must be thinking of Yale and the bush money that bought a below "C" average person a chance at a good schoot).
    I don't know about the rest of you but I wish my parents had planned my life as well as the President's so I too could have gone to Ivy league schools and become president one day. WOW!!! Faux news and the tea baggers at their worst!!

    May 27, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  16. Anonymous

    I don't know, Mitt Romney. When you want something bad enough that you end up selling your soul to get it, chances are it wasn't all that important to begin with.

    President Obama was born in Hawaii. To suggest otherwise through a surrogate such as Donald Trump and use Trump's comments as a means to add donations to Mitt's campaign coffers is equal to Mitt Romney admitting his campaign is already faultering beyond repair.

    May 27, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  17. Marie MD

    The planet Kola (look it up in the mormon faith – this is NOT a joke . . . . well, sort of for some) is calling the flip flopper back. Even they are ashamed of this bishop.

    May 27, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  18. glorydays

    A party taking pride it it's own ignorance. What's wrong with that?

    May 27, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  19. R o m n ey G a y Bash ing Hair Cutting at Age 18

    Romney is just a fool but will flip for any votes. Tell him to dress like a drag queen and lets see if he does it!

    Your a looser and a hack and out of touch with reality Romney .......

    May 27, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  20. the situation

    Let's face it, Romney has no spine or backbone to stand up against the birthers and the far right that believe in this claim. Romney will d and say anything to be elected. The guy is a wimp!

    May 27, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  21. Dick Cheney is the smegma of mankind!

    Mittens needs an Aryan on his team, blue-eyes, with a blond squirrel sitting on his head!

    May 27, 2012 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  22. Jason

    For the love of god old man, your still at it?

    May 27, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  23. Anonymous


    Let's make a deal. We'll hold Romney accountable for everything Trump says, and we'll hold Obama accountable for everything Reverend Wright says. Deal?

    Sure, John. Get back to us when the Reverend Wright and President Obama hold a "dinner with Jeremiah" fundraising event together.

    May 27, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  24. Ram Riva

    The Billionaires of the GOP such as Koch brothers, Fox News, WSJ – Murdoch et al..... have all the GOP politicians who are in office and five Justices from the Supreme Court, in their back pockets....NOW....if you allow Romney to become the next President of the United States of America....then they will have the Presiden, every member of his cabinett the Supreme Court and Congress, House and Senate in their back pockets......they will become so powerful that it will be impossible for the middle class, Union workers, the rest of the defeat them in any type of election.....the time to act is now....not then.....Obama 2012

    May 27, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  25. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Gee, Donald... I guess it's summer re-run season...

    Still trying to be relevant? Trying to make ANY kind of return on your big investment (and lack of evidence)? You're obviously not much of a businessman if you're STILL trying to sell this nonsense.

    May 27, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
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