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Updated at 20:15 ET
President Trump has put forward a controversial theory that is being promoted by supporters – and his campaign – that Sen. Kamala Harris of California does not qualify for the presidency.
The Democrat was born in California and therefore qualifies for the job.
Trump, who led a conspiracy against former President Barack Obama, told reporters Thursday that he had heard the opinion of a “highly qualified, very talented lawyer” that Harris did not meet the requirements for vice president, but did not know if that was true or not. Trump was answering a question and citing Newsweek’s opinion from law professor John Eastman, mistakenly questioning Harris’s admissibility.
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“I heard it today that it doesn’t meet the requirements,” Trump said. “I have no idea if that is the case. I would assume that the Democrats would check this before she is elected to run for vice president.”
Joe Biden’s campaign officials quickly denied the allegations. Biden’s spokesman Andrei Bates responded by calling Trump “a national leader of the grotesque, racist movement toward President Obama and seeking to inflame racism and tear our nation apart every day of his presidency.”
“So this is not surprising, but no less disgusting,” Bates said, “because Trump is making a fool of himself who seeks to distract the American people from the horrific path of his failed coronavirus response that his campaign and their allies will resort to unfortunate, demonstratively false lies in their pathetic despair. ”
“That’s how racism sounds,” tweeted Biden’s senior adviser, Simone Sanders.
Harris was born in Oakland, California, on October 20, 1964. Experts say that anyone born in the United States is an American citizen, which makes them eligible for president.
The 14th Amendment states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to their jurisdiction are nationals of the United States and of the State in which they reside.”
Harris’ mother, Shamala Gopalan, who died in 2009, was a cancer researcher from South India who moved to California to finish school before Harris was born. Her father, economist Donald Harris, emigrated from Jamaica.