President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign officials backed away from questioning Kamala Harris’s eligibility for national office, describing the issue as a non-starter and “case closed.”
The president raised the matter twice last week in news conferences and offered praise for conservative law professor John Eastman, who’s suggested there were questions about the Democratic vice presidential nominee because her parents weren’t U.S. citizens when she was born in Oakland, California.
Trump said Saturday that the theory by a “brilliant lawyer” was “not something that I’m going to be pursuing,” though he stopped short of debunking it.
“I have nothing to do with that. I read something about it,” Trump said during a press conference at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club. “I don’t know about it. I read one quick article.”
“What he’s saying is that we have not made an issue of this and we will not make and issue of this,” Steve Cortes, a Trump campaign adviser, said on “Fox News Sunday.” “It’s a non-starter from our point of view, for the president and for the campaign.”
“It is not something that anyone in our campaign is talking about,” Jason Miller, another campaign adviser, said on ABC’s “This Week.” “In our opinion it is case closed, end of story.”
Eastman’s op-ed piece was published by Newsweek after Joe Biden, Trump’s 2020 Democratic challenger, presented Harris as his running mate. Trump initially said he’d “take a look” at the article.
Newsweek on Saturday apologized for running the piece, saying it was “being used by some as a tool to perpetuate racism and xenophobia.”
Trump spent years raising the eligibility-for-office question about Barack Obama, demanding that the former president produce a birth certificate. He also questioned Senator Ted Cruz, who was born in Canada, when the two were vying for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.