- President Donald Trump refused to state definitively that Kamala Harris is eligible to serve as vice president.
- But he added that the false birther conspiracy theory was “not something that we will be pursuing.”
- Harris, an American citizen who was born in California, is eligible to run for the positions of both vice president and president.
- Trump referred to a widely denounced Newsweek op-ed that perpetuated the conspiracy theory, calling the author “a brilliant lawyer.”
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President Donald Trump on Saturday refused to definitively shoot down false claims that Kamala Harris is ineligible to serve as vice president, though he said he and his campaign will not pursue the baseless conspiracy theory.
“I just don’t know about it, but it’s not something that we will be pursuing,” Trump told reporters at a news briefing at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey.
One reporter had asked him to state that Harris was eligible to run, but Trump did not do so.
—Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 15, 2020
He added that he hadn’t deeply examined the matter, and had only read “one quick article” about it — likely referring to a Newsweek op-ed that was widely denounced and perceived as pushing birtherism.
The publication has since apologized that the op-ed was “being used by some as a tool to perpetuate racism and xenophobia.”
Trump referred to the op-ed’s author as “a brilliant lawyer,” but said the false claim about Harris’ ineligibility “doesn’t bother me at all.”
“I have not gone into it in great detail. If she’s got a problem, you would’ve thought that she would’ve been vetted by Sleepy Joe,” Trump said.
Harris, an American citizen who was born in California, is eligible for both the position of vice president and president. The Fourteenth Amendment mandates that anyone born in the US is an American citizen.