Both the White House and the Trump campaign on Sunday said unequivocally that Sen. Kamala D. Harris is eligible to serve as vice president and blamed the media for fomenting unfounded questions about the issue.
“This is not something that we’re going to pursue,” White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “Y’all have spent more time on it than anybody in the White House has talking about this.”
Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller said nobody on the campaign is talking about it.
“In our opinion, it is case closed. End of story. And the only folks who keep bringing it up are the media,” Mr. Miller said on ABC’s “This Week.”
Ms. Harris was born in Oakland, California, to a Jamaican-born father and an Indian mother and is a “natural born citizen” eligible to serve as vice president.
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden last week tapped Ms. Harris, a former rival, to be his running mate.
Asked about “birther” theories, Ms. Harris predicted over the weekend that President Trump and the Republicans will engage in lies and deception to win.
“I expect that they will engage in dirty tactics,” she told theGrio. “And this is going to be a knock-down, drag-out [fight].”
Mr. Trump had said in recent days that he has no idea whether a theory put forth by a conservative lawyer calling Ms. Harris’s eligibility into question is correct.
“The lawyer happens to be a brilliant lawyer, as you probably know,” the president said on Saturday. “He wrote an article saying there could be a problem. It’s not something that I’m going to be pursuing.”
Newsweek has since apologized for the recent opinion piece from lawyer John Eastman, saying it’s “being used by some as a tool to perpetuate racism and xenophobia.”
Trump campaign legal adviser Jenna Ellis had shared the article on social media last week.
“It’s an open question, and one I think Harris should answer so the American people know for sure she is eligible,” Ms. Ellis had said. “Just like [Joe] Biden should also answer questions about his mental competency.”
Mr. Miller said on Sunday that she wasn’t speaking for the campaign.
“I am,” he said.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham recently vouched for his colleague while saying there are plenty of things in Ms. Harris’ record that Republicans can disagree with.
“Under the Constitution and Supreme Court precedent, she is unequivocally an American citizen,” the South Carolina Republican tweeted.
Mr. Trump for years had advanced the incorrect theory that former President Barack Obama was not born in the United States and was therefore ineligible to serve as president.
In September 2016, Mr. Trump claimed credit for dispelling doubts about Mr. Obama’s citizenship, saying: “I finished it. President Obama was born in the United States.”
The president also had raised questions about the eligibility of Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, his former 2016 Republican presidential rival who was born in Canada but is a U.S. citizen.