Jake Tapper slams Trump spokeswoman for floating birther nonsense about Rubio
Donald Trump spokesperson Katrina Pierson ran afoul of CNN’s S.E. Cupp and Jake Tapper on Monday when she tried to argue that Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) eligibility to run for president should be questioned.
“The question here is, is he a naturalized citizen?” Pierson said of the senator. “Now we know that his parents were not citizens at the time. That makes a huge difference with regards to eligibility.”
“It actually doesn’t,” Tapper replied, prompting Cupp to laugh from off-camera. “If you’re born in the United States, you’re a natural-born citizen. That’s pretty much just the law.”
Tapper noted that while the real estate mogul and Republican front-runner said on Sunday that he “did not know” if Rubio was eligible to run for the GOP nomination, that ran counter to his statement weeks ago that Rubio’s citizenship was not an issue because he was born in Florida to immigrant parents.
Cupp argued that this was the Trump campaign’s latest attempt to “otherize” an opponent after they rose in the polls, citing past allegations about Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Ben Carson as examples.
“Trump is trying to communicate that this Cuban-American might be someone to be afraid of to a very small group of voters who believe that all of the problems in the world and all of their personal problems are the result of people who don’t look like them,” she argued. “It’s really sad that that’s been catching on anywhere, and it’s sad and intellectually dishonest that Trump keeps trying to assert these narratives about Cruz, Carson, now Rubio. But ultimately, I think most people know and believe that Marco Rubio is eligible to run for president.”
“That is absolutely ridiculous,” Pierson responded. “Trying to make this about race is absurd.”
“I agree — you should tell your boss that,” Cupp shot back.
At one point in the interview, Pierson tried to argue that “there is a lot of discussion going around with the new laws and interpretations and amendments with regards to eligibility,” saying that Trump was being honest in raising the question.
“I will just say, I did ask him that same exact question a few weeks ago, and he said there was no issue,” Tapper replied. “The only thing that I know that has changed is that Rubio has done better in South Carolina and Iowa since then.”
Watch the interview, as posted online on Monday, below.