Friday, August 14, 2020

The attack on Kamala Harris shows Trump's desperation

You can expect from Trump and his campaign attack after attack on presumed Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden and his choice for VP, Sen. Kamala Harris. Trump will try the lutefisk approach and go with whatever seems to stick at the moment.

In yesterday’s Letters from an American , Heather Cox Richardson trashes the Trump campaign’s attack on Kamala Harris’ citizenship.

The president’s campaign has … launched a full-fledged attack on Senator Kamala Harris, tapped [Wednesday] by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden as his running mate. Trump and his surrogates say it is an “open question” whether she is constitutionally eligible to be president. This is a lie. There is no question that she is a natural-born citizen; she was born in California. Trump supporters are trying to argue that because her parents were not citizens when she was born, she is not a natural-born citizen, and is therefore ineligible for the presidency.

The Supreme Court answered this question definitively in the 1898 United States v. Wong Kim Ark decision. The Supreme Court evaluated the Fourteenth Amendment’s first clause, which says that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” The justices decided the clause established that anyone born on U.S. soil is an American citizen regardless of the nationality of their parents.

The rather tortured argument the Trump campaign is making is that the words “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” excludes babies born to foreign-born parents because the parents retain some legal ties to their former countries and are therefore not fully subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, so their babies must not be, either. This is hogwash. The distinction made in the Fourteenth relates to certain Native American tribes in this era, whose members were certainly born in America, but did not acknowledge the jurisdiction of the federal government and therefore should not, lawmakers thought, be accorded the right to vote. (The next section of the amendment names Indians explicitly, saying “Indians not taxed” should not be counted toward congressional representation.)

What’s going on with these blatant attacks on American democracy? …

There is something to the idea that the president is desperate. Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen today released the introduction to his forthcoming book. It’s a doozy. Cohen claims Trump colluded with the Russians in 2016 to get a “major real estate deal in Moscow…. I know because I personally ran that deal and kept Trump and his children closely informed of all updates, even as the candidate blatantly lied to the American people saying, ‘there’s no Russian collusion, I have no dealings with Russia…there’s no Russia.’”

Desperate indeed. And bat-shit crazy. Put another way, Trump shows symptoms of a psychological disorder. I’ll have more on that in another post.

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