Trump resurrects racist birther smear against Nikki Haley as she surges in New Hampshire

Former president Donald Trump is deploying the same racist smear he and his allies attempted to use against former president Barack Obama and Vice President Kamala Harris in recent years by claiming that another of his non-white rivals — former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley — is not eligible to serve as President of the United States.

On Monday, the disgraced ex-president shared an article from far-right conspiracy site The Gateway Pundit which posited that Ms Haley is not a “natural born citizen” because her parents, Indian immigrants, were not American citizens when she was born in 1972.

Ms Haley, who served as Mr Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, was born in the United States.

Under the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, any person born within the territory of the United States is a citizen from birth save for the children of foreign diplomats.

Mr Trump, through an ally, also attempted to deploy the same claim about Ms Harris, whose mother was an Indian immigrant and whose father was Jamaican, during the 2020 election.

The ally of Mr Trump who posited the false claim, John Eastman, would later attempt to help Mr Trump overturn the 2020 election after the then-president lost to Joe Biden and Ms Harris.

Additionally, the former president’s rise as a prominent political figure in the Republican Party can be directly traced to his promotion of the false and baseless claim that the first Black president of the United States, Barack Obama, was not a “natural-born citizen” of the country that elected him as its chief executive in 2008.

In 2011, he told NBC’s Today that he had “real doubts” about Mr Obama’s citizenship, which was acquired at birth when the future 44th president was born in Hawaii in 1961.

The future 45th president implied that Mr Obama was actually born in Kenya, though under US law that would still have made him a US citizen at birth through his American mother, anthropologist Stanley Ann Dunham.

He also claimed that he’d paid investigators to go to Hawaii to look into the matter.

“I have people that actually have been studying it and they cannot believe what they’re finding,” he said at the time.

Mr Trump also claimed, falsely, that Mr Obama was “hiding” his birth certificate because it allegedly specified that he was a Muslim even though the ex-president is a Christian and American birth certificates do not list a child’s religion.

Mr Obama later called Mr Trump and others who were perpetuating the false claims about him “carnival barkers” and in April 2011 authorised the release of his long-form birth certificate to quiet the controversy.

Mr Trump’s promotion of the racist lie about Mr Obama turned him from a prominent television personality into a celebrity in Republican circles, leading him to launch a presidential campaign to succeed Mr Obama in 2015.