Harris, during an interview with The Grio, was asked about the conspiracy theory which claimed she is ineligible to serve as vice president because her parents were born outside the United States.
Harris is a United States citizen born in California in 1964, making her eligible to serve as president or vice president under the U.S. Constitution.
The president, last week, was criticized for not outright rejecting the theory, and instead, when asked, responded: “I heard it today that she doesn’t meet the requirements,” before adding: I have no idea if that’s right.”
When asked Sunday for reaction, Harris said: “Look, I’m very clear-eyed about the fact that they are going to engage, as you said, in what they have done throughout this administration, which is just, let’s just be very candid and straightforward, they’re going to engage in lies, they’re going to engage in deception, they’re going to engage in an attempt to distract from the real issues that are impacting the American people.”
“I expect they will engage in dirty tactics and this is going to be a knockdown drag out,” Harris said. “And we’re ready. And we’re ready.”
“There is so much at stake in this election and I’m prepared to fight, because this is a fight that is for something, not against something,” she said. “This is a fight for where we need to be. And as you’ve heard me say many times, I’m very, very clear that we need to focus on what can be unburdened by what has been.”
She added: “But as we also know, nothing, nothing that we have ever achieved that has been about progress has come without a fight.”
Harris’ comments come after a professor of law at Chapman University, John C. Eastman, wrote a piece for Newsweek earlier this week after she was named to the Democratic ticket questioning whether Harris is a “natural born citizen” because her mother was born in India and her father was born in Jamaica.
Newsweek has since apologized, saying that the op-ed “is being used by some as a tool to perpetuate racism and xenophobia. We apologize,” Newsweek reportedly said in an editor’s note on Friday. “We entirely failed to anticipate the ways in which the essay would be interpreted, distorted and weaponized.”
Meanwhile, Joe Biden’s presidential campaign condemned the president over the remarks, referencing Trump’s past involvement elevating false claims that former President Barack Obama may not have been born in the United States.
“Donald Trump was the national leader of the grotesque, racist birther movement with respect to President Obama and has sought to fuel racism and tear our nation apart on every single day of his presidency,” Biden rapid response director Andrew Bates told Fox News in a statement. “So it’s unsurprising, but no less abhorrent, that as Trump makes a fool of himself straining to distract the American people from the horrific toll of his failed coronavirus response that his campaign and their allies would resort to wretched, demonstrably false lies in their pathetic desperation.”
But on Sunday, Trump campaign senior adviser Steve Cortes on “Fox News Sunday” defended the president, saying that “this is not an issue that we are going to be pursuing.”
Referring to comments the president made during a press conference on Saturday, Cortes said: “He said this is not something we will be pursuing. He never brought this up. The campaign never brought this up. Members of the media have asked him about it are trying to create a controversy that simply doesn’t exist.”
“What he’s saying is we have not made an issue of this, we will not make an issue of this,” Cortes said. “It’s a nonstarter from our point of view for the president and the campaign.”
Fox News’ Alex Pappas contributed to this report.