President Donald Trump has repeatedly refused to reject the baseless claim that Sen. Kamala Harris could be ineligible to serve as vice president.
According to Slate, despite the fact that Harris was born in Oakland, raised in Berkeley, and attended an HBCU, Trump has declined to refute the claim, saying instead that his campaign will not be pushing the issue.
“I just don’t know about it, but it’s not something that we will be pursuing,” Trump told reporters last week.
When a reporter asked Trump to say Harris is eligible to be the country’s vice president, Trump instead walked around the question. “I have nothing to do with that. I read something about it,” Trump said. “I know nothing about it, but it’s not something that bothers me.”
When pressed more to say Harris is eligible to run, Trump continued to run around the question.
“I just don’t know about it,” Trump continued. The president then got agitated at the reporter for suggesting the claims were untrue. “Don’t tell me what I know.”
The president kept on insisting he had no idea what the truth might be. “To me, it doesn’t bother me at all,” he said. “I don’t know about it. I read one quick article. The lawyer happens to be a brilliant lawyer, as you probably know. He wrote an article saying it could be a problem. It’s not something that I’m going to be pursuing.”
When pressed yet again on the matter Trump continued to dance. “I just told you. I have not gone into it in great detail,” he said before suggesting that if there had been a problem, he’s sure the Democratic campaign would have found it. “If she’s got a problem,” he said, “you would have thought that she would have been vetted by Sleepy Joe.”
The lawyer Trump referred to was John Eastman, a conservative attorney who unsuccessfully ran in the 2010 Republican primary as a candidate for California attorney general, which Harris won. Eastman wrote an op-ed in Newsweek questioning Harris’ American citizenship and her eligibility to be Joe Biden’s running mate.
After three days and a potential staff walkout on the issue, Newsweek apologized for the article.
“This op-ed is being used by some as a tool to perpetuate racism and xenophobia. We apologize,” read Newsweek’s editor’s note on Friday, which replaced the magazine’s earlier detailed defense of the op-ed.
However, Newsweek’s opinion editor, Josh Hammer, and the global editor in chief, Nancy Cooper, said the piece would remain on the site with the note attached because “we believe in being transparent.”
On Friday, CNN’s April Ryan said whenever Trump is challenged by “strong, Black women,” his move is to personally attack them falling back on racist, sexist comments.
“Personal attacks and race is what this president always falls back on,” Ryan stated when the subject of Trump using the word “nasty” was brought up. “At the end of the day, this president is limited.”