Washington: Democratic vice-presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris has been hit by a “birther movement”, with US President Donald Trump saying he had heard that she does not meet the requirements to serve the White House.
Former US President Barack Obama was also hit by a birther movement, where his opponents questioned about the origin of his birth.
Born to a Jamaican father and an Indian mother, 55-year-old California senator, Harris, was named by Joe Biden as his vice-presidential running mate on Tuesday.
The conspiracy theory about Harris started following a Newsweek Op-Ed by Dr John Eastman, who ran in the Republican primary to be California’s attorney general in 2010. Eastman, who lost the race to Harris, a Democrat, said that there are some questions about the eligibility for the position. The theory was also circulated on social media.
The Biden campaign called opinion piece racist.
“I just heard that. I heard it today that she doesn’t meet the requirements and by the way the lawyer that wrote that piece is a very highly qualified very talented lawyer. I have no idea if that’s right,” Trump said in response to a question during a press conference at the White House.
Trump did not give his opinion on it but acknowledged that he has heard about such claims circulating on social media that Harris is not eligible to be the president of the United States.
Harris was born on October 20, 1964, at Oakland in California. Her mother Shyamala Gopalan migrated to the US from Tamil Nadu in India, while her father, Donald J Harris, moved to the US from Jamaica.
If elected in the November presidential elections, Harris would be second in line of succession after Biden, who is the Democratic party’s presidential nominee.
As per the Constitution, the president needs to be born in the United States
Harris is the first black, and first Indian-American and African-American to be selected for this second highest elected office in the country.
During the news conference, Trump said, “I would have assumed the Democrats would have check that out before she gets chosen to run for vice president but that’s a very serious — you are saying that they are saying that she doesn’t qualify because she wasn’t born in this country.”
“I just heard about it. I will take a look,” Trump said responding to another question.
Describing this as an unnecessary controversy, National Finance Committee member of the Biden campaign Ajay Bhutoria said that Harris was born in Oakland in California on October 20 in 1964.
“Article Two of our Constitution dictates that a person born in the United States after 1787 be a ‘natural born citizen’ of the country. She is a natural born citizen and there is no question about her eligibility to run. This puts an end to discussion.
“The whole birther movement is racist and Donald Trump is a disgrace to our country, Bhutoria said in a statement.
Harris, like many Americans, is the product of a multicultural family of immigrants, he said.
“Her mother, who travelled to the United States in 1958 to complete a master’s degree at UC Berkeley, was the daughter of an Indian civil servant who spent some of his career in Zambia, Bhutoria said.
Harris being the vice-presidential candidate has given confidence to the immigrant community, especially the Indo-American community, he said.
“I am telling my kids, tomorrow you could be the future president or vice president , if you work hard and work smart and follow the footsteps of inspiring leaders like President Clinton , Obama , Joe Biden and Kamala Harris,” Bhutoria said.