White House hopeful Joe Biden on Friday levelled fierce criticism at Donald Trump, with his campaign saying the President has resorted to “abhorrent” lies about Democrat Kamala Harris's eligibility to be Vice-President.
Mr. Biden named Ms. Harris, a woman of colour who was born in the United States and is constitutionally eligible to be both Vice-President and President, as his running mate on Tuesday. She quickly faced attacks that Democrats deemed racist.
“I heard it today that she doesn’t meet the requirements,” Mr. Trump said on Thursday, citing an article by a conservative law professor that questioned the immigration status of Ms. Harris’s parents at the time of her birth.
Born in the U.S.
Ms. Harris, 55, was born in Oakland, California, to a mother from India and a father from Jamaica.
Mr. Trump “has sought to fuel racism and tear our nation apart,” Biden spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement, referring to the “grotesque, racist birther movement” led by Mr. Trump that promoted the lie that Barack Obama, the nation’s first black President, was not born in the United States.
“So it’s unsurprising, but no less abhorrent, that as Trump makes a fool of himself straining to distract the American people from the horrific toll of his failed [COVID-19] response that his campaign and their allies would resort to wretched, demonstrably false lies in their pathetic desperation.”
The conservative professor’s article cited by Mr. Trump followed claims shared thousands of times on Facebook that Ms. Harris could not become President because her parents hailed from abroad.
Article 2 of the U.S. Constitution states that “no person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States” shall be eligible for the presidency. Section 2 of the 14th Amendment says “all persons born or naturalized in the United States” are U.S. citizens.
Mr. Trump grudgingly acknowledged late in his 2016 presidential campaign that Mr. Obama was American-born. Since then, Mr. Trump has faced accusations of racism, and has embraced other conspiracies.
USPS sends warning
Meanwhile, the U.S. Postal Service has sent letters to most States warning that millions of ballots cast by mail for November’s presidential election may not arrive in time to be counted, U.S. media reports said.
The letters, dated July 29 and delivered to election officials in 46 States and in Washington DC, said that even if voters meet their State deadlines, the Postal Service could not guarantee delivery in time, The Washington Post said on Friday.
They warn that “certain deadlines for requesting and casting mail-in ballots are incongruous with the Postal Service’s delivery standards,” according to several letters posted on the USPS website following an information request by the newspaper.
“This mismatch creates a risk that ballots requested near the deadline under State law will not be returned by mail in time to be counted under your laws as we understand them.”
Former President Barack Obama has criticised Mr. Trump’s “attempts to undermine the election,” tweeting on Friday that the administration was “more concerned with suppressing the vote than suppressing a virus.” “If you’re in a State where you have the option to vote early, do that now,” he said on Twitter.
Despite the warning letters, the USPS said it was “well prepared and has ample capacity to deliver America's election mail,” in a statement quoted by CNN.