Newsweek apologized Friday for publishing an op-ed that triggered a conspiracy theory Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., who was chosen as Joe Biden's running mate, might not be eligible to be vice president.
The magazine added an editor's note late Friday to a piece authored by Chapman University law professor John Eastman in which he suggested Harris, who was born in Oakland, California, was not a natural-born citizen because her parents were immigrants.
"Before we so cavalierly accept Sen. Harris' eligibility for the office of vice president, we should ask her a few questions about the status of her parents at the time of her birth," Eastman wrote.
The piece drew immediate criticism as many compared a simular racist claim hurled at President Barack Obama during his time in office.
"This op-ed is being used by some as a tool to perpetuate racism and xenophobia," Newsweek Opinion Editor Josh Hammer and Global Editor in Chief Nancy Cooper, wrote in a note added to the piece Friday. "We apologize."
The editors continued, "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 Sen. Kamala Harris, a woman of color and the child of immigrants, was somehow not truly American."
When President Donald Trump was asked about the article, he responded, "the lawyer that wrote that piece is a very highly qualified, talented lawyer," but he had "no idea if that's right."
Trump added he would assume Democrats had fully vetted the eligibility before naming Harris to the ticket.
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