A reporter asked Trump at a Thursday news conference for his thoughts on a recent claim about Harris, who Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, on Tuesday tapped to be his running mate. Harris, who will be the first black woman and first Asian American on a major party ticket, now faces right-wing attacks on her eligibility to serve as vice president. Those attacks stem from her parents’ citizenship status when she was born in Oakland, California, and are akin to birthplace conspiracy theories Barack Obama confronted.
“I just heard that,” Trump said of the baseless legitimacy issue about Harris, published Wednesday in a Newsweek op-ed by a California-based law professor. “I heard it today, that she doesn’t meet the requirements,” Trump continued, adding, “And by the way, the lawyer that wrote that piece is a very highly qualified, very talented lawyer.”
Trump spent his years questioning Obama’s eligibility for the presidency, repeatedly claiming evidence existed that Obama wasn’t born in the U.S., that his Hawaii birth certificate might be fake and that there was no proof to the contrary. Trump’s role in keeping the false “birther” movement alive helped fuel his political rise.
“I have no idea if that’s right,” Trump said of the Harris attacks. “I would have assumed the Democrats would have checked that out before she gets chosen to run for vice president. But that’s very serious. You’re saying that they say that she doesn’t qualify because she wasn’t born in this country.”
The reporter corrected Trump: “No, she was born in this country, but … opponents say that her parents did not receive their permanent residency at that time.”