After launching his presidential campaign by calling Mexican immigrants “rapists,” Donald Trump is now following up on his nativist rhetoric by taking aim at the Constitution.
On Tuesday, when Bill O’Reilly challenged the presidential hopeful’s proposal to end birthright citizenship in light of the 14th Amendment, Trump hit back: “Bill, I think you’re wrong about the 14th amendment and frankly the whole thing about anchor babies.”
“I can quote it, you want me to quote you the amendment?” O’Reilly responded. “If you’re born here you’re a citizen. Period!”
But Trump insisted he and his lawyers have found some disturbing holes in the amendment, which unequivocally states that anyone born in the United States is in fact an American citizen.
“What happens is, they’re in Mexico, they’re going to have a baby, they move over here for a couple of days, they have the baby,” Trump said, while trying to break down his legal take. “Bill, [lawyers are] saying, ‘It’s not going to hold up in court, it’s going to have to be tested.'”
“I don’t think they have American citizenship, and if you speak to some very, very good lawyers, some would disagree,” Trump added. “But many of them agree with me—you’re going to find they do not have American citizenship. We have to start a process where we take back our country. Our country is going to hell. We have to start a process, Bill, where we take back our country.”
O’Reilly pointed out that if Trump wanted to end birthright citizenship he could push for an amendment to the constitution—a position held by the former reality TV show star’s fellow GOP presidential candidate Scott Walker—but in a slight capitulation, Trump acknowledged that that would probably “take too long” and said he’d rather use his potential presidency to “find out whether or not anchor babies are citizens.”