Newsweek Offers Limp Apology For Birther Op-Ed Against Harris

Sen. Kamala Harris suspends her presidential campaign
Sen. Kamala Harris suspends her presidential campaign
Sen. Kamala Harris

Newsweek has offered a weak tea apology after publishing a racist op-ed by John Eastman meant to gin up birtherism against Kamala Harris, who was born in Oakland, California, in 1964 and fully eligible to run for and become vice president or president of the U.S.

Instead of removing the op-ed, though, they left it intact with this disclaimer at the top of the webpage:

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.

The op-ed was never intended to spark or to take part in the racist lie of Birtherism, the conspiracy theory aimed at delegitimizing Barack Obama, but we should have recognized the potential, even probability, that that could happen. Readers hold us accountable for all that we publish, as they should; we hold ourselves accountable, too. We entirely failed to anticipate the ways in which the essay would be interpreted, distorted and weaponized.

As we said in our earlier note, this essay was an attempt to examine a legal argument about the difference between “natural born” and “naturalized,” the latter being ineligible to hold the office of president. In the days since the op-ed was published, we saw that it was being shared in forums and social networks notorious for disinformation, conspiracy theories and racist hatred. All of us at Newsweek are horrified that this op-ed gave rise to a wave of vile Birtherism directed at Senator Harris. Many readers have demanded that we retract the essay, but we believe in being transparent and are therefore allowing it to remain online, with this note attached.

Lindsey Graham Claps Back At Trump Floating Harris ‘Birther’ Theory

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) took a moment this morning to clap back against Donald Trump’s comment yesterday when he floated a birther theory that Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) might not be eligible to run for vice president.

Trump told reporters on Thursday, “I heard 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.”

Ahem, Harris was born in Oakland, California – on US soil – in 1964. The 14th Amendment makes it very clear she is a natural-born citizen and can run for veep.

Graham made note of this on Twitter:

Campaign Ad: Donald Trump Lies “Even When He’s Admitting The Truth”

From the Hillary Clinton campaign on Donald Trump’s “Full Flop” on the Birther movement he started, and made even wilder today.

“Donald Trump has spent years peddling lies about President Obama. And that didn’t stop today.”

Donald Trump: President Obama Was Born In The United States. Period.

With a wave of his hand and two short sentences, Donald Trump tries to make the ‘birther’ issue magically disappear without taking any responsibility for trying to delegitimize Barack Obama’s presidency.

“Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it. I finished it, you know what I mean. President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period.”

Please note how different media outlets announced the news. I think Buzzfeed gets it right.

Hell Freezes Over – Donald Trump Admits President Obama Was Born In USA

The news unfolded tonight thusly:

First, Republican presidential candidate and foremost birther conspiracy theorist Donald Trump refused to admit whether or not President Obama was born in the USA.

From Washington Post:

In the interview, conducted late Wednesday aboard his private plane as it idled on the tarmac here, Trump suggested he is not eager to change his pitch or his positions even as he works to reach out to minority voters, many of whom are deeply offended by his long-refuted suggestion that Obama is not a U.S. citizen. Trump refused to say whether he believes Obama was born in Hawaii.

“I’ll answer that question at the right time. I just don’t want to answer it yet,” Trump said.

When asked whether his campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, was accurate when she said recently that he now believes Obama was born in this country, Trump responded: “It’s okay. She’s allowed to speak what she thinks. I want to focus on jobs, I want to focus on other things.”

He added, “I don’t talk about it anymore. The reason I don’t is because then everyone is going to be talking about it as opposed to jobs, the military, the vets, security.”

And within minutes of that statement, Jason Miller of the Trump campaign released a statement saying Donald Trump does, in fact, believe the President was born in Hawaii.

Via NPR:

Hillary Clinton’s campaign first raised this issue to smear then-candidate Barack Obama in her very nasty, failed 2008 campaign for President. This type of vicious and conniving behavior is straight from the Clinton Playbook. As usual, however, Hillary Clinton was too weak to get an answer. Even the MSNBC show Morning Joe admits that it was Clinton’s henchmen who first raised this issue, not Donald J. Trump.

In 2011, Mr. Trump was finally able to bring this ugly incident to its conclusion by successfully compelling President Obama to release his birth certificate. Mr. Trump did a great service to the President and the country by bringing closure to the issue that Hillary Clinton and her team first raised. Inarguably, Donald J. Trump is a closer. Having successfully obtained President Obama’s birth certificate when others could not, Mr. Trump believes that President Obama was born in the United States.

As has been mentioned many, many times, the idea that Hillary Clinton originated the ‘birther’ theory has been debunked as false. In 2015, PolitiFact proved the claim to be false. “Clinton’s campaign, one of the most thoroughly dissected in modern history, never raised questions about the future president’s citizenship.”

A couple of things here.

If Trump felt the “ugly incident” was brought to a close in 2011, why did it take over five years for him to admit it? Because he was still promoting the idea a year later. See the tweet below from 2012:

Also, note that the statement is not directly from Trump but a surrogate. When will we hear the actual words from Trump himself? Trump should either own it or denounce it himself – not a surrogate.

My thoughts are that Trump wanted this off the table before the first presidential debate. But does it? Surely there will be questions like mine?

NBC News’ Katy Tur Schools Trump Surrogate On Trump’s “Birther” History

After almost 15 months on the campaign trail reporting on the Donald Trump campaign, NBC News reporter Katy Tur was not having Trump surrogate Jack Kingston try and pretend that Trump has recanted his long-held claim that President Obama was not born in the United States.

Lately, several of Trump’s surrogates have attempted to assert that the Donald admitted he was wrong on the issue long ago. When in truth, he has never acknowledged his crusade to “prove” Obama was born in Kenya was folly.

Watch Katy Tur plow right through Kingston as she shares what she has heard from Trump supporters every day for the last 14 months.

White House Spokesman Enjoys “Irony” Of Donald Trump/Ted Cruz “Birther” Kerfuffle

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was asked about the current Donald Trump/Ted Cruz kerfuffle about Cruz’s “eligibility” to be elected president given he was born in Canada.

For the record – yes, Sen. Cruz is a natural-born American since his mother was an American.

Earnest gets a bit of a smile here as he comments on the possible irony of the situation given the years of ridiculous questions about President Obama’s birth certificate.

Says Earnest, “It would be quite ironic if after 7 or 8 years of drama around the president’s birth certificate if Republican primary voters were to choose Senator Cruz as their nominee. Somebody who actually wasn’t born in the United States and only 15 months ago renounced his Canadian citizenship.”

On another note – Mr. Earnest is quite the good looking guy, no?  🙂


Ann Coulter Goes ‘Birther’ On Ted Cruz

It looks like right-wing loon Ann Coulter went “full birther” today when she took to Twitter to question whether Sen. Ted Cruz is eligible to run for president due to his being born in Canada.

This is a big u-turn for Coulter who as recently as 2013 said that Cruz was, in fact, a “natural born” citizen of the United States, and thus eligible.

In 2009, she called the ‘birther’ movement an “embarrassment” to the Republican party.

See her tweet from 2013 below:

(h/t TPM)