Trump plays the birther card with Nikki Haley

If, as Ralph Waldo Emerson noted, “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,” then foolish inconsistencies can be evidence of a demented one.

Take the nearly daily inconsistencies of former president Donald Trump, whose powers of memory are about equal to those of a raccoon on “bath salts.” On one day, Trump will bleat that he is the victim of political persecution. The next day, he will promise to politically persecute his political enemies. The next day, he will claim the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol was a plot by “Antifa.” The day after that, he will call the people convicted of crimes on that day “hostages” and vow to pardon them.

Yet Trump’s latest bit of performative amnesia is perhaps his most risible. On Truth Social this week, Trump reposted an article from the Gateway Pundit that posited Nikki Haley was ineligible for the presidency because neither of her Indian parents were U.S. citizens when she was born in South Carolina in 1972.

This, of course, was always going to happen, as one of Trump’s greatest hits is accusing any political opponent with a skin tone darker than Emma Stone’s of being a secret foreigner.

Everyone remembers how Trump, a lifelong Democrat, rose to fame within the GOP in the early 2010s, spreading the racially charged lie that Barack Obama was not born in America and thus ineligible to be president. In 2016, he congratulated himself for letting go of the lie, saying he “finished” the whole birther controversy.

Trump pulled this club out of his bag again in 2016, accusing Ted Cruz, who was born in Canada (to parents who were American citizens), of not being an American. (Sadly, Canada did not keep him.) In 2020, Trump mused about whether Kamala Harris, whose parents, like Haley’s, also were not born in the U.S., was eligible to serve as Joe Biden’s vice president. (This buffoonery was primarily propagated by John Eastman, the lawyer who would later go on to engineer the falsehood that Trump could legally overturn the results of the 2020 election.)

Obviously, this is all abject nonsense. Both Haley and Harris, born in the United States, are eligible to serve as either president or vice president, as they both meet the requirement of being a “natural born Citizen” as laid out in the U.S. Constitution. The erroneous talking point Trump publicized was cooked up by Paul Ingrassia, a 2022 graduate of Cornell Law School, whose legal analysis makes Trump’s other incompetent attorney, Alina Habba, look like Antonin Scalia.

Trump’s racist birther musings would be bad enough on their own, but this is where the “inconsistency” charge takes the whole issue to a different level. Trump has spent his entire political career calling for minority candidates to be disqualified from the ballot, while he himself is currently arguing that states leaving him off their ballots would be an affront to democracy.

In recent weeks, Colorado and Maine have barred Trump from appearing on their state ballots, pursuant to the 14th Amendment’s directive that no one can be president if he has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.” Colorado and Maine officials, determining that Trump’s role in the January 6  riot at the U.S. Capitol rose to the level of “insurrection,” have ruled him ineligible to appear on their ballots.

Even if one disagrees with NR’s editors, who have objected to the legality of those two states’ actions, in any case it still seems too late to upend an election now that the votes are within a week of officially flying.

Trump, meanwhile, has reacted in his typical fashion, firing off all-caps missives urging the courts to “let the voters decide.” His attorney, Habba, claimed the Colorado ruling “attacks the very heart of this nation’s democracy.” But again, Team MAGA’s theatrical paeans to democracy fall flat when you realize this is a guy who has spent his career declaring people ineligible for the ballot based on his imaginary assessment of their immigration status.

Further, the charges that have currently thrown Trump off the ballot in a few states are far more serious than the immigration status of a candidate’s parents. Haley, who has lived in America for 51 years, served as a governor and as Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations. Do we think that, having achieved the Oval Office, she would then reveal herself to be a sleeper agent of a foreign nation in which she has never lived?

Contrast that with the fact that Trump lied about the 2020 election results and on January 6, 2021, would have been happy to upend the nation’s perfect record of the peaceful transfer of power.

And, of course, Trump hasn’t even gotten started on Haley. He has questioned her intelligence, calling her “birdbrain,” but he has yet to pull out anything about Haley’s looks, her weight, or her menstrual cycle (cough . . . Megyn Kelly . . . cough). But it is coming. Trump missing an opportunity to be sexist and racist is like Lou Bega playing a show without “Mambo No. 5” (or any of his lesser mambos).

In this respect, Trump has shown himself to be extremely consistent: the ability to be consistently wretched.

Dan Butcher

Dan Butcher (aka HP Pundit) is not a Democrat or Republican. He is a free thinking independent bringing you news and commentary with a dose of much needed common sense.

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