CNN anchor Chris Cuomo came under fire Tuesday when he seemed to suggest in a since-deleted tweet that there’s no proof of where Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) was born and that the onus is on her to prove right-wing “birther” conspiracists wrong in their claims she’s not eligible to run for president.
He weighed in after CNN contributor Ana Navarro slammed a far-right conspiracy theorist for falsely insisting that Harris — who was born in Oakland, California, and announced her candidacy for the Democratic ticket on Monday — could not legally be president because her parents had lived in the U.S. for less than five years before having her.
“The longer there is no proof either way, the deeper the effect,” Cuomo wrote after saying, “hopefully ... the legit info [about] Harris comes out to deal with the allegation ASAP.”
Harris’ press secretary Ian Sams quickly took down Cuomo on Tuesday, slamming the anchor for implying there’s some “mystery about the ‘legit info’” regarding her birthplace and birthright citizenship status.
After deleting the original tweet, Cuomo sent out a new one saying his message was misunderstood. He had intended to “put onus on accuser,” not Harris, he replied to one critic.
The conspiracy theory attempting to smear Harris, both Sams and Navarro noted, isn’t much different from the racist birther claims that followed Barack Obama when he was a presidential candidate and continue to do so with encouragement from President Donald Trump.
“Hmmmmm.....I wonder what Obama and [Harris] have in common?” Navarro tweeted, a clear nod to the fact that both lawmakers are black.
CNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Cuomo’s tweet.
This story has been updated to include that Chris Cuomo deleted his original tweet and posted a response.