Newsweek caves, issues apology for Kamala Harris column

by WorldTribune Staff, August 16, 2020

Newsweek issued an apology after an outraged cancel culture mob called for the retraction of an opinion piece which argued that Kamala Harris is ineligible to be the Democrat vice presidential candidate because she’s not a “natural born citizen.”

Dr. John Eastman

Dr. John Eastman, a law professor at Chapman University and a Senior Fellow at the Claremont Institution, wrote of Harris for Newsweek on Aug. 12:

“Her father was (and is) a Jamaican national, her mother was from India, and neither was a naturalized U.S. citizen at the time of Harris’ birth in 1964. That, according to these commentators, makes her not a ‘natural born citizen’ — and therefore ineligible for the office of the president and, hence, ineligible for the office of the vice president.”

The 12th Amendment provides that “no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.” And Article II of the Constitution specifies that “[n]o person except a natural born citizen…shall be eligible to the office of President.”

The cancel culture mob quickly went into high gear, claiming Newsweek was pushing the so-called “birther” movement.

Editors initially responded by defending Eastman’s piece, saying it had nothing to do with the birther movement, writing: “Debating the meaning of these constitutional provisions and, in the particular case of Dr. Eastman’s piece, the meaning of the 14th Amendment’s phrase ‘subject to the jurisdiction thereof,’ is not an attempt to deny facts or to make false claims. No one is questioning Harris’ place of birth or the legitimacy of an obviously valid birth certificate.”

Further stirring the leftist outrage pot was President Donald Trump’s reference of the Eastman op-ed in his press conference on Friday, even though Trump and his re-election campaign said they are not questioning Harris’s eligibility.

But Trump said: “I have nothing to do with that. I read something about it. I don’t know about it. I read one quick article.”

“What he’s saying is that we have not made an issue of this and we will not make and issue of this,” Steve Cortes, a Trump campaign adviser, said on “Fox News Sunday.” “It’s a non-starter from our point of view, for the president and for the campaign.”

“It is not something that anyone in our campaign is talking about,” Jason Miller, another campaign adviser, said on ABC’s “This Week.” “In our opinion it is case closed, end of story.”

Newsweek ended up issuing an apology in the form of a lengthy editor’s note which now sits at the top of Eastman’s op-ed. The note says the piece was never meant “to spark or to take part in the racist lie of Birtherism.” columnist Beth Baumann noted:

It’s ridiculous that Newsweek had to issue any kind of editor’s note at all. Why can’t we discuss the merits of someone’s eligibility for office without it automatically being considered racist or xenophobic? Eastman laid out the scholarly debate surrounding the 14th Amendment. He brought up questions about Harris’ eligibility for the office. The same questions have come up when John McCain and Ted Cruz both ran for president.

We need to get back to having intellectually honest conversations surrounding the Constitution. Not every question is risen with malice. For some people, like law professors and scholarly experts, are focused on the Constitutional aspect of things.

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