President Trump stokes ‘birther’ theory about Kamala Harris

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Daily US Times: US President Donald Trump stokes ‘birther’ theory about Kamala Harris, saying he has heard she “doesn’t qualify” to serve as US vice-president, amplifying a fringe legal theory critics decry as racist.

Ms Harris was born to an Indian mother and Jamaican father in Oakland, California, on 20 October 1964.

But a conservative law professor has questioned Kamala’s eligibility.

For years, Mr Trump promoted a false “birther” theory that former President Barack Obama was not born in the US.

Kamala Harris, a California senator, was unveiled on Tuesday as the first woman of colour to serve as running mate on a main-party US presidential ticket.

She is deputy to Democratic White House candidate Joe Biden, who will challenge Republican President Donald Trump in November’s general election.

What did Trump say?

Mr Trump was asked about the argument against Ms Harris at Thursday’s press conference,

“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,” the president said.

“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 who asked the question replied there was no question that Ms Harris was born in the US, simply that her parents might not have been legal permanent residents at that time.

A Trump campaign adviser, Jenna Ellis, reposted a tweet earlier on Thursday from the head of conservative group Judicial Watch, Tim Fitton.

Mr Fitton questioned in that tweet whether Ms Harris was “ineligible to be Vice President under the US Constitution’s ‘Citizenship Clause'”.

He also shared an opinion piece published in Newsweek magazine by a law professor at Chapman University in California named John Eastman.

What is the law professor’s argument?

In his piece, Prof Eastman cites Article II of the US Constitution’s wording that “no person except a natural born citizen… shall be eligible to the office of President”.

The professor also points out that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution says “all persons born… in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens”.

Prof Eastman’s argument hinges on the idea that the Democratic running mate may not have been subject to US jurisdiction if her parents were, for example, on student visas at the time of their daughter’s birth in California.

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