Scott Walker Clarifies His Third Position on Birthright Citizenship

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Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker speaks at the American Action Forum January 30, 2015 in Washington, DC. Earlier in the week Walker announced the formation of "Our American Revival", a new committee designed to explore the option of a presidential bid in 2016.
Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

In the biggest case of short-term position whiplash since Jeb Bush’s Iraq War confusion, Scott Walker has made his third separate contortion in seven days regarding whether he supports ending birthright citizenship (for those born in the U.S. to immigrants) — a right that is currently guaranteed under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and an issue Donald Trump has now elevated to center stage in the GOP presidential race. 

As CNN points out, today on ABC’s This Week the Wisconsin governor told George Stephanopoulos that he was not seeking to repeal or alter the 14th Amendment, yet last Monday at the Iowa State Fair Walker told MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt that birthright citizenship should “absolutely, going forward” be ended. Later, Walker and his campaign tried to walk back that statement, blaming it on him being tired when he said it, though the Washington Post reports that when they spoke with Walker Monday night, “he seemed to say both that his initial response had been misunderstood, and that he was open to a discussion of the elimination of birthright citizenship — but only when the time was right.”

By Friday, Walker had landed on the position of having no position, telling CNBC’s John Harwood that he was “not taking a position on [birthright citizenship] one way or the other,” after he already had, and before he again did today on ABC. In that appearance this morning, Walked also implied that debate over the issue was just a distraction, noting that “any discussion that goes beyond securing the border and enforcing the laws are things that should be a red flag to voters … 

Walker did not, however, call Donald Trump a distraction, though he did use the appearance to label many of Trump’s ideas as liberal ones, while also attempting to associate himself with the populist anti-Washington energy that is propelling Trump’s campaign. Said Walker, “I do think that there is some real frustration out there. It’s [the] way you not only see [Trump’s] numbers up, you see some of the other candidates who have not run for office before. They’re angry at Washington. Heck, I’m angry at Washington. I’m angry at my own — my own party leadership.”

Trump, appearing on the same show today, said of Walker, “I’m honored that he wants to copy me, and he’s a nice man.”