Newsweek apologized Friday over an editorial it published recently about Sen. Kamala D. Harris and the California Democrat’s eligibility to run on the party’s presidential ticket.
An editor’s note was added to the article days after its publication quickly propelled conspiracy theories about Mr. Harris, the presumptive Democratic vice presidential nominee.
“This op-ed is being used by some as a tool to perpetuate racism and xenophobia,” wrote Josh Hammer, Newsweek’s opinion editor, and Nancy Cooper, its global editor in chief. “We apologize.”
The op-ed, written by law professor John C. Eastman, was meant to explore a “minority legal argument” about the meaning of “natural-born citizen,” the editors wrote.
“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,” they acknowledged.
“We entirely failed to anticipate the ways in which the essay would be interpreted, distorted and weaponized,” they added.
Joseph R. Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, announced on Tuesday he had selected Ms. Harris to serve as his running mate in November’s election, essentially making her the first Black woman to run on a major party’s national ticket.
Nowhere in his opinion piece did Mr. Eastman, who previously ran unsuccessfully for office as a Republican, suggest that Ms. Harris was born outside the United States. He argued, rather, that if her parents were not yet permanent residents at the time of Ms. Harris’s birth that she would be ineligible for the presidency because she was not entitled to birthright citizenship.
Mr. Eastman’s op-ed appears to have caught the attention of President Trump.
“I heard it today that she doesn’t meet the requirements,” Mr. Trump told reporters Thursday, adding: “I have no idea if that’s right.”
Newsweek’s editors said they were “horrified” the op-ed fueled “vile” conspiracy theories about Ms. Harris but that it would allow the article to remain on its website.
Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris are expected to be formally nominated during next week’s Democratic National Convention.