President Donald Trump on Thursday sparked criticism on social media after he stoked a "birther" conspiracy theory about Sen. Kamala Harris. Speaking at a White House press briefing, the president questioned the eligibility of Harris to be vice president, pushing a theory that has long been considered racist by critics.
Holy shit. Trump pushes a baseless, birther-style theory about Kamala Harris that holds she's not a citizen because birthright citizenship isn't a thing.
"I just heard it today that she doesn't meet the requirements ... I have no idea if that's right." pic.twitter.com/ZIXYrleuVf— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 13, 2020
The president pushed the theory, which questions Harris' birthplace when asked about a recent conservative law professor who questioned the VP nominee's eligibility. The president told reporters that he had "just heard it today that she doesn't meet the requirements" and noted that "the lawyer that wrote that piece is a very highly qualified, very talented lawyer." According to BBC, he went on to acknowledge how he had "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," he added. "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."
His remarks came after Trump campaign advisor Jenna Ellis reposted a tweet from Tom Fitton, the president of the conservative group Judicial Watch, questioning if Harris is "ineligible to be Vice President under the U.S. Constitution's 'Citizenship Clause.'" That tweet also shared the article Trump was questioned about, written by John Eastman, a law professor at Chapman University in California.
Despite the theories and the president's questioning of Harris' eligibility, the California senator was Oakland, California on Oct. 20, 1964. As such, she meets the Constitution's requirements to serve as vice president or president and is therefore eligible for the role she is currently nominated for. The fact that her parents were immigrants – her father was from Jamaica and her mother from India – does not change the fact that she is a natural-born U.S. citizen.
This marks just the latest example of the president pushing a birther conspiracy theory. He had long questioned former President Barack Obama's eligibility for the presidency, first pushing the theory that Obama, the first Black president, didn't have a birth certificate, in 2011. He later backed away from that theory, though the most recent birther theory regarding Harris is being met with plenty of backlash on social media.
If Trump does not understand natural born citizenship, he should not be presiding over this country.— ★彡Breiterbart ★彡 (@breiterbart) August 13, 2020
Trump's racism is so predictable and so old. His tactics failed with Obama and they will fail with Harris too. The fact he feels the urge to try and smear her though shows you he senses Harris has the power to pull more votes for Biden.— MURRAY 🗽 (@murray_nyc) August 13, 2020
It was bad enough when, as a private citizen, President Trump led the birtherism parade against Barack Obama. To now amplify, as President of the United States, a similar falsehood about Kamala Harris is even more abhorrent. https://t.co/yy4PkHuW7w— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) August 14, 2020
We’re really doing this again as if this is real? He was forced to admit it was a lie that he had perpetuated about Obama in 2016. https://t.co/MduthtuOXF— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) August 13, 2020
Can we just call it racism because that’s what it is.— Leslie LaFollette 🏳️🌈 (@Ljanesnaps) August 14, 2020
Headline should read
'Trump does not know that California is in the US'
Since she was born in California and the only reason they are talking about her birth is because she ain't white— Angela Fraser (@Angiedaytrippa) August 13, 2020
Wasn’t this same tactic used to discredit Obama?— Mister Red 🇺🇸 (@RedtheMighty) August 13, 2020
Just to be clear, Trump said he hadn't heard about the Kamala Harris birther stuff, but immediately said that the lawyer who wrote it was very highly qualified and talented.— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) August 13, 2020
So, he knew nothing about it except how top-notch the writer was
Every single member of Congress should IMMEDIATELY CONDEMN trump's bullshit birther crap.
Enough cowardice already.
Stand the fuck up.— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) August 14, 2020
Trump’s trying his racist birther attack, because he’s desperate and pathetic. I’d like to see his birth certificate, since many people are saying he wasn’t even born on this planet.— Scott Dworkin (@funder) August 14, 2020
Trump is pushing a new birther conspiracy lie. He knows full well that Kamala Harris is qualified to be president or Vice President.— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) August 13, 2020
This is how Trump does his birther lying - just-asking-questions, maybe-true-maybe-not, check-it-out. It’s garbage. https://t.co/jxYnNx4yCG— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) August 13, 2020
So: he’s still a birther.— Soledad O'Brien (@soledadobrien) August 13, 2020
All of you who rolled your eyes as I pointed out daily that Trump and Flotus are birthers: maybe you could actually treat this overt racism with the disgust it demands. https://t.co/25A2cmxxLq
Let’s be clear: Trump and the GOP’s insta-response to the second black person to get close to the Oval Office is to again ‘birther’ them; to question their identity and eligibility.
This is racism, plain and simple. And reporters should label it as such.— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) August 14, 2020