A Newsweek opinion piece by John C. Eastman about vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris forces the publication to make a public apology.
What We Know
- Last week, a Trump campaign senior legal adviser retweeted an essay questioning Kamala Harris’ citizenship. The now taken down Newsweek Op-Ed by John C. Eastman questioned the legitimacy of Harris’ citizenship, arguing that Harris was not a “natural born citizen” because her parents were immigrants.
- The Newsweek essay became evermore controversial when neither President Trump nor Jared Kushner condemned the racist lie of Birtherism. In a White House press conference, the president said, “I heard it today that she doesn’t meet the requirements…I have no idea if that’s right. I would have thought,[sic] I would have assumed that the Democrats would have checked that out before she gets chosen to run for vice president.”
- The essay writer, John C. Eastman, is an American politician, and a professor of law and former dean at the Chapman University School of Law. Most importantly, he ran unsuccessfully for California Attorney General in 2010 — a position that Kamala Harris ended up winning.
- Kamala Harris was born in Oakland, California, to two immigrant parents; her father, Donald Harris, was born in Jamaica but immigrated to the United States for a graduate degree, eventually becoming a Professor of Economics at Stanford University. While her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, was born in India and came to the United States to get her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.
- Therefore, the argument made in the Newsweek essay is insubstantial according to the 14th amendment, “a person born within and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States automatically acquires US citizenship. Newsweek put out a public apology on Friday (Aug. 14) stating their regret and also featured an op-ed offering the opposing argument by Eugene Volokh.
“This op-ed is being used by some as a tool to perpetuate racism and xenophobia. We apologize. The essay, by John Eastman, was intended to explore a minority legal argument about the definition of who is a “natural-born citizen” in the United States. But to many readers, the essay inevitably conveyed the ugly message that Senator Kamala Harris, a woman of color and the child of immigrants, was somehow not truly American.”
– Newsweek (Editor’s note)
- Although the Newsweek essay is now taken down, John Eastman stands by his words. He told CNS News, “It’s quite possible they applied for and got green card status…But, also going to school at the time, it’s much more likely they were here on student visas…If they were here on student visas, that wouldn’t be enough to make Harris eligible to be president, but it would not preclude her from being a senator.”
Kamala Harris has yet to comment on the Newsweek essay by John Eastman or the response from the Trump administration.