Expected criticisms of Joe Biden‘s running mate Kamala Harris have started early but on an unexpected note – birthers doubt Harris’ eligibility to hold office in case a President Biden is permanently unavailable.
Presumptive Democratic nominee Biden revealed on Tuesday that he would like to serve with Harris as his vice-president. Although opinions were varied as to who Biden was going to choose, most Democrats agreed that it was going to be a Black woman.
But in an op-ed published by Newsweek after Harris was announced, John Eastman, a law professor, and Republican, questioned Harris right to manage the Oval Office if need be.
Eastman wrote: “Her father was (and is) a Jamaican national, her mother was from India, and neither was a naturalized U.S. citizen at the time of Harris’ birth in 1964.”
Eastman’s piece was widely circulated in conservative media and was given a push by President Donald Trump at a press conference on Thursday. Asked about what he made of Eastman’s argument, Trump responded:
“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. 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.”
President Trump has an all-too-known history of calling into question the eligibility of his opponents. He is infamous for being the number one proponent of birther claims against Barack Obama, as well as even calling into question Ted Cruz’s eligibility in the Republican presidential nominee race of 2016.
But it does not seem Republicans are leaving Harris’ eligibility question on the fringes of the presidential races. Jenna Ellis, a legal adviser to the Trump 2020 campaign said on ABC News: “It’s an open question, and one I think Harris should answer so the American people know for sure she is eligible.”
Harris was born to an Indian mother and a Jamaican father in California. Her heritage means that she could also be the first southeast Asian woman to be vice president, although she has said a few times that she identifies as Black.