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. jefflz

    This is yet another indication of Romney's feeble judgement and poor management skills. He demonstrates at every opportunity that he is not fit to be Commander in Chief.

    May 26, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  2. Grady

    will this birther insanity ever end?

    May 26, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |

    I'm actually a pretty reasonable guy – well educated, successful, happy, independant etc. but frankly, I do not believe obama was born in teh unted states.

    May 26, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  4. Eri

    Donald Trump is living proof of the fact that you don't have to be smart to become rich - all you need is a little luck.

    May 26, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  5. Terje

    When Hilary Rosen (who had no affiliation with the Obama campaign) made her comment, the Romney campaign went into full outrage overdrive, loudly denouncing her comment, creating a web ad linking Obama to the comment, and claiming it meant that Democrats hated stay-at-home moms. President Obama, VP Biden, and Jay Carney all denounced the comment within a day of it being made, but the manufactured controversy dominated the airwaves and talk shows for a week.

    It is true that a candidate is not responsible for what their supporters say – a campaign has no control over what some random supporter utters.

    But a campaign does have control over which supporters they choose to highlight, which surrogates they embrace and give formal campaign roles to. The Romney campaign has paid for Donald Trump robocalls, is holding multiple fundraisers with him – by doing so, they are voluntarily choosing to associate with Trump and his vile views. As such, they deserve to be judged by the company they choose to keep.

    May 26, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  6. enuff

    Donald Trump won't play second fiddle to anyone, so don't let that throw you. Plus, whatever happened to Trump's promise that his "investigators" would have "proof" last year?

    May 26, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  7. TominMaine

    Isn't this laughable?? Mitt REALLY needs to distance himself from "The Donald" and all the other birther nut-jobs and grab-the-spotlight soap box queens. Mitt, this is costing you votes.

    May 26, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  8. carlos

    the bridge to nowhere mittsy is a poosy and the don a "possum

    as for !ST SGT and russ in md........we hope the mittsy will take you both to his far away planet, you will not be missed, hehehehe

    May 26, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  9. Sharrisa

    I find it interesting that this is all Republicans like Trump can come up with. No interest in the US economy, political issues, ecosystems, etc., just whether they can push a question that no one with any intelligence cares about. A man who cheated on his wife numerous times (Cain) was okay with him. A man who his entire party had to hold their noses to vote for is okay. All the other "best" of the Republican party that were left by the wayside were all okay. But Trump is like a dog chewing on a cat turd with this silly issue. Interesting!

    May 26, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  10. Jack V

    Why must Romney take every opportunity to go out of his way to insult my intelligence? I'm starting to think he (& the rest of the GOP) have it in for me.

    May 26, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  11. Jewels

    What happened to the day when you had speakers that really cared about the people - and what was best for a majority? Romney is showing nothing impressive here. And, I will stick with Pres. Obama.

    May 26, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  12. bexon

    @ Russ
    Russ in Md

    I don't think he was born in Kenya. I think he lied on his college loan application so he could receive foreign tuition aid and then continued the scam in Harvard...........
    Did you even go to college? There is no such thung as foriegn tuition aid, foreign students pay a rate as high as 3 times what US students pay.

    May 26, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  13. racistTrump

    Never before has a President had to do so much to prove he was an American. Say what you want, but we all know its cause he looks different then the others and has a funny name. The fact that Romney is associating himself with this filth shows just how much he is willing to pander to the GOP's fringe elements. I don't want a President who panders to those nutjobs.

    May 26, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  14. John

    The State of Arizona got all the fact that the President was born In Hawaii. Now It been Proven 4 time NOW and the President even show IT on T.V. , so any of you so call Birther don't believe It NOW , than that will make just a RACIST and most of all a IDIOT.

    May 26, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  15. Bristol

    I think the Donald should look into Mitt's citizenship issues. Mitt's grandfather renounced his US citizenship when he fled the USA and became a fugitive from justice over polygamy. When Mitt's father returned to the US, he claimed citizenship but how was it earned? Mitt is an anchor baby.

    Please "The Donald", look into this. Get Sheriff Joe to work on it too.

    May 26, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  16. Weasley

    Ah, Trump and the Birthers are so cute, their minds so delightfully free from logic and reason, you want to pat them on the head and give them a piece of candy. If the GOP ever really tires of their incessant adolescent babbling, they just need to wave a shiny object in front of them, and they will forget about all this birther nonsense.

    May 26, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  17. flowersunshineandgymsocks

    If you listen to the tape of the grandmother talking it is obvious there was a language barrier and she barely understood the question. There were no reports that she pointed down the road. Trump is one of the lowest forms of human life in America.Yes, a cabdidate can't be responsible for what his supporters say, but for god sake he is saying it right now when they are having a dinner togaether and Romney only says he accepts that the President is born in the US. Guess what Mit, we don't know where you were born. Your family ran to Mexico for crimes against women, were you born in Mexico? How will Romney deal with North Korea if he is afraid of limp dick Trump?

    May 26, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  18. Earth to Planet Kolob

    DEMMIE should probably ask for his money back on that education.

    May 26, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  19. MaryM

    Birthers are just a hateful group of people that can not accept the fact that they are racist.

    May 26, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  20. Anonymous

    Real point of what Trump is doing is not whether B.O. was born in the U.S. Reality is it will always be an open question to a degree because you have things like this 20 year bio coming out saying B.O. is Kenyan. (Hospital will not release records, SSN). 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.

    May 26, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  21. carlos just discredited your own post by saying: well educated.......teatard would be more, oh well, you would not understand.......

    May 26, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  22. Preacherguy

    Actually, the only real pertinent fact that matters is that President Obama's mother was a citizen of the United States – that makes him a "natural born citizen" no matter where in the world he may have been born. I happen to believe the state of Hawaii when they say he was born there – BUT NO MATTER WHAT – if his mother was a US citizen – SO IS HE – so drop it, grow up, and MOVE ON!

    May 26, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  23. chuck weidemann

    Romney appears to have sold his soul to try to be president! Is this what we want as a leader of the greatest country on earth? At least a community organizer knows what it takes to build one....a businessman only knows how to make money for themselves and maybe a few people in on the deal!!! I somehow don't think us middle class worker bee's are in on Romney's deal!!!

    May 26, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  24. carlos

    every time I hear the poosy mittsy's voice on a robocall, I hope he would hear what I have to say because his inner ear will explode, hehehehe and the same goes for the 'possum don.........

    May 26, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  25. Anonymous

    Jack V

    Why must Romney take every opportunity to go out of his way to insult my intelligence? I'm starting to think he (& the rest of the GOP) have it in for me.

    Conversely, at some point we have to give our full disdain to Mitt Romney. Groveling to the lowest of American intelligence ought to be an insult to him as well, and yet, here he is, groveling as no other presidential candidate has grovelled before. Doesn't say much for his leadership abilities or any future Commander in Chief leadership abilities that this "man" might posess while in conference with ... oh, I don't know ... world leaders and such. This dude is incapable of saying "no".

    May 26, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
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