Aug 14, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Kushner says Trump didn't promote false Kamala Harris birtherism theory

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner told "CBS This Morning" on Friday that he does not believe President Trump promoted a baseless claim that Sen. Kamala Harris is ineligible to be vice president.

Driving the news: During a press briefing on Thursday, Trump did not question the veracity of a Newsweek op-ed that inaccurately claimed Harris may be ineligible for the office due to her parents' naturalization status at the time of her birth. Harris is an American citizen and was born in Oakland, Calif.

  • "So I just heard that, I heard it today, that she doesn't meet the requirements. ... 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 very serious, they're saying that she wasn't qualified because she wasn't born in this country," Trump said at the briefing.
  • Trump campaign senior adviser Jenna Ellis also shared the op-ed and later called Harris' citizenship "an open question."

Kushner's take: "He just said that he had no idea whether that's right or wrong. I don't see that as promoting it. But look, at the end of the day, that's something that's out there. ... I personally have no reason to believe she's not."

  • "I have not had a chance to discuss this with him, but again, I let his words speak for himself," he said, after being confronted with the fact that Harris was born in California.

Flashback: When pushed by Axios' Jonathan Swan last year to comment on whether Trump's promotion of the birtherism conspiracy theory against Barack Obama was racist, Kushner repeatedly refused.

  • "I wasn't involved in that," he said.
  • "Look, I know who the president is, and I have not seen anything in him that was racist," he added.
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