The president commended the crowd size of her campaign kickoff rally. He talked about her nasty wit, a jab that was neither here nor there. It appeared that a woman of color presented a minefield for a president who was, at that point in the race, attempting to expand his coalition, particularly among Black voters and white suburban women.
Now, its a different story. Mr. Trump is running against a ticket that includes Ms. Harris, and he currently feels like he is losing.
In the hours after Ms. Harris selection, the president resuscitated the racist conspiracy theory of birtherism that has been part of his political brand since before he entered politics.
I heard it today that she doesnt meet the requirements, Mr. Trump said of Ms. Harris, making a false assertion that Ms. Harris, born in California, was not eligible for the national office because her parents were immigrants. He also called her angry and nasty.
Were the attacks surprising? No. Was it shocking nonetheless to hear Mr. Trump give voice to a racist conspiracy theory from the White House? Yes.
- For years, Mr. Trump perpetuated the lie that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya.
- In 2016, he even attempted a version of the trope in an ugly primary fight against Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, questioning his citizenship and suggesting his Canadian roots could be a barrier to holding national office.
- Some of Mr. Trumps campaign advisers are insistent that they want to make a clear-cut policy case against the Biden-Harris ticket, branding them as far-left radicals. But they have always left the messaging of the campaign to Mr. Trump, who has regularly made racist appeals to his base when he feels like he is losing.