[guest post by Dana]
No one should be surprised that Trump would choose this tactic once again to raise suspicions about Kamala Harris, who was born in the US to a Jamaican father and Indian mother, and whether she is eligible to be the vice-president:
“I just heard it today that she doesn’t meet the requirements and by the way the lawyer that wrote that piece is a very highly qualified, very talented lawyer.
“I have no idea if that’s right. I would have assumed the Democrats would have checked that out before she gets chosen to run for vice-president.
“But that’s a very serious, you’re saying that, they’re saying that she doesn’t qualify because she wasn’t born in this country.”
The reporter replied there was no question that Ms Harris was born in the US, simply that her parents might not have been permanent US residents at the time.
“I don’t know about it,” Trump said. “I just heard about it. I’ll take a look.”
President Trump on claims that :Kamala Harris isn't eligible to run for Vice President because she's an anchor baby: "I heard it today that she doesn't meet the requirements…I have no idea if that's right. I would have assumed the Democrats would have checked that out." pic.twitter.com/H887X43GJK
— CSPAN (@cspan) August 13, 2020
It’s interesting to note the order in which Trump comments, and how he comments for the benefit of his base. First, he says that he heard she doesn’t meet the requirements (to be vice-president), then follows that with praise for John C. Eastman, the lawyer who wrote the op-ed that got the birther 2.0 ball rolling for Trump. The President then tries to appear as if he has a neutral, hands-off position in this, by saying that he has no idea if the claim is true. Me, I’m just a bystander! Except that he immediately follows that by raising doubts about whether Democrats did their due diligence on behalf of the American people to actually make sure Harris meets eligibility requirements. How can we really know they did what they were supposed to do?? This is followed by his attempt to link the very seriousness of the matter with the double-false claim that Harris doesn’t qualify because she wasn’t born in this country. Moreover, he doesn’t know about it, yet he will take a look at it??? The only reason he would say that he will “take a look at it” is to gin up suspicion in his base that Harris doesn’t meet the requirements and to instill the belief that the Democrats are trying to pull a fast one on the American people. Oh, please.
…she believes Harris’ citizenship is “an open question, and one I think Harris should answer so the American people know for sure she is eligible.”
You can read Eugene Volokh’s counter to Eastman’s op-ed here. He lays out the history of the legal standards for eligibility and determines that the American people can be assured that Harris is indeed eligible to be the vice-president.
While Harris herself has not publicly commented on the President’s provocation, Biden’s campaign released a statement:
“Donald Trump was the national leader of the grotesque, racist birther movement with respect to President Obama and has sought to fuel racism and tear our nation apart on every single day of his presidency,” Biden rapid response director Andrew Bates told Fox News in a statement. “So it’s unsurprising, but no less abhorrent, that as Trump makes a fool of himself straining to distract the American people from the horrific toll of his failed coronavirus response that his campaign and their allies would resort to wretched, demonstrably false lies in their pathetic desperation.”
Every Republican in Congress should publicly condemn the President for pushing this nonsense because it is not representative of the GOP (or at least, once upon a time), but they won’t because unfortunately, we’ve already seen a large swath of Republicans across the country happily provide a home for birtherism, and the tactic paid off handsomely. So why would Republicans condemn it now when the presidential election is a mere 82 days away?
P.S. At least Sen. Lindsey Graham, while avoiding taking the President head-on, reiterates that Harris is indeed an American citizen, therefore eligible to be the vice-president.