The White House chief of staff has accepted Kamala Harris’s eligibility to run for vice-president after Donald Trump fuelled a discredited and racist conspiracy theory rampant among some of his followers.
“Sure,” said Mark Meadows, when pressed by CNN about whether he acknowledged the fact that Ms Harris meets the constitutional requirements to serve as vice-president.
“And I think the President spoke to this yesterday. This is not something that we’re going to pursue,” Mr Meadows continued.
Asked again if he accepts Ms Harris’s eligibility to serve as Joe Biden’s running mate on the Democratic presidential ticket, Mr Meadows said, “I do, yeah”.
His comments come after the US President twice this past week declined to say whether he believed she met the requirements.
Claims have spread on social media that Ms Harris couldn’t serve in the White House because her parents were immigrants to the United States.
Mr Trump initially said Thursday that he had just heard the claim and had “no idea if that’s right,” but that the charge was serious and he would look into it.
Pressed again Saturday to accept her eligibility, Mr Trump demurred, saying at a news conference at his New Jersey golf club that it didn’t bother him but he had “not got into it in great detail.”
Ms Harris is without question eligible for the office.
Ms Harris, 55, was born in Oakland, California, making her a natural-born US citizen and eligible to be president if Biden were unable to serve a full term.
Her father, an economist from Jamaica, and her mother, a cancer researcher from India, met at the University of California, Berkeley, as graduate students.
The Constitution requires a vice president to meet the eligibility requirements to be president.
That includes being a natural-born US citizen, at least 35 years old and a resident in the US for at least 14 years – all criteria that Ms Harris fulfills.
When asked about Ms Trump’s promotion of the conspiracy theory about her, Ms Harris said in an interview released Sunday that she and Mr Biden fully expect Mr Trump and his campaign to engage in “lies” and “deception” in a bid to beat Democrats in the November 3 election.