Harris, who is Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s running mate in the 2020 presidential election, was born in the United States to an Indian mother and Jamaican father.
But during a press conference on Thursday, Trump pointed to a Newsweek column penned by conservative law professor John Eastman and seemingly suggested that Harris may not be eligible to serve as vice president.
Trump described Eastman as a “very highly qualified, talented lawyer,” adding that he had “no idea” if the column was accurate.
Critics were quick to accuse the commander-in-chief of spreading birther conspiracy theories reminiscent of the debunked allegations regarding his predecessor, Barack Obama.
“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, it’s something that’s out there,” Kushner told CBS.
“I personally have no reason to believe she’s not,” he said.
Later in the day, during an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Kushner doubled down, accusing the media of spreading disinformation about his father-in-law.
“Right now you’re the one spreading that disinformation,” Kushner told Amanpour.
“I’ll take him at his word that he said he doesn’t know anything about that, and that’s what he said,” he added.
In his op-ed, Eastman argued that Harris is ineligible to serve because neither of her parents was a naturalized citizen at the time of her birth.
He cited the 12th Amendment and Article II of the U.S. Constitution, also noting that the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment forbids the California senator from serving as Biden’s vice president.
Eastman concluded his column by arguing that Harris’ background needs to be investigated because foreign nations have sought to meddle in American elections.
Constitutional law scholars rejected his arguments.
Members of Trump’s reelection team have promoted the law professor’s op-ed.
As CBS News reported, Trump campaign’s legal adviser Jenna Ellis posted Eastman’s Newsweek editorial to Twitter. She also amplified a tweet from Tom Fitton, the president of the conservative group Judicial Watch, in which he argued that Harris is ineligible for the position.
In a statement, Ellis said that whether the California Democrat can serve as vice president is an “open question, and one I think Harris should answer so the American people know for sure she is eligible.”