Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Friday that he will not take a formal position on whether to end birthright citizenship, walking back comments he made earlier this week that strongly indicated his support to end the practice of granting U.S. citizenship to infants born on American soil regardless of their parentage.
"I'm not taking a position on it one way or the other. I'm saying that until you secure the border and enforce the laws, any discussion of about anything else is really looking past the very things we have to do,” he told CNBC's John Harwood in a one-on-one interview Friday.
He added: "Americans are fed up. They are sick and tired of Washington not being able to tackle these issues and they want someone who's going to take care of it.”
Walker’s comment follows a week of confusion over where, exactly, he stands on the issue -- despite an initial response that seemed unequivocal.
On Monday, Walker made statements that appeared to endorse Trump’s birthright citizenship position during a stop at the Iowa State Fair, most notably captured during an exchange with MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt. (Video here):
Kasie Hunt: Do you think that birthright citizenship should be ended?
Scott Walker: Well, like I said, Harry Reid said it’s not right for this country—I think that’s something we should, yeah, absolutely, going forward—
KH: But we should end birthright citizenship?
SW: Yeah. To me it’s about enforcing the laws in this country and I’ve made it very clear. I think you enforce the laws, and I think it’s important to send a message that we’re going to enforce the laws that no matter how people come here we’re going to enforce the laws in this country.
Walker spokesperson Kirsten Kukowski later said the governor had actually been saying he wanted to the eliminate the birthright citizenship problem -- but not necessarily by eliminating birthright citizenship. "We have to enforce the laws, keep people from coming here illegally, enforce e-verify to stop the jobs magnet and by addressing the root problems we will end the birthright citizenship problem.”
Walker gave a slightly different version to Post’s Jenna Johnson Monday night in Webster City, Iowa, when 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. "We had a three-hour roving gaggle there, and so you answer part of a question, somebody turns and asks you something [else],” he said. “[M]y point is: Yeah, I empathize with people who have concerns about that but until we fundamentally secure the border and enforce the law..."
After another reporter cut Walker off to ask if ending birthright citizenship would be on the table once the border is secure, Walker demurred. "We will talk about things in the future,” he said.
He underlined that position Friday: for now, at least, his only position on the issue will be no position at all.
Jenna Johnson contributed to this story.