Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son, retweeted, then later deleted, a message on Thursday during the Democratic primary debates that questioned California Sen. Kamala Harris‘ race.

While the second night of the debates was taking place, Trump Jr. shared a post by right-wing media personality Ali Alexander that called into question the legitimacy of Harris’ racial experience. The original tweet read: “Kamala Harris is *not* an American Black. She is half Indian and half Jamaican.”


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Trump Jr. reposted the tweet a little over halfway through Thursday’s debate, with the caption “Is this true? Wow.” He deleted the tweet later that night, but by that time he had already drawn significant attention to Alexander’s tweet, helping to spread it among Republican circles.

A spokesman for Trump Jr., Andy Surabian, said, “Don’s tweet was simply him asking if it was true that Kamala Harris was half-Indian because it’s not something he had ever heard before and once he saw that folks were misconstruing the intent of his tweet, he quickly deleted it.”

Many believe that Trump Jr.’s tweet was another attempt to undermine a strong Democratic 2020 contender in order to make it easier for his father to win reelection. The president’s son has a history of using his father’s strategy of courting controversy and conspiracy theories in order to delegitimize opponents. Last week Trump Jr. attacked E. Jean Carroll, a magazine writer who claimed that Donald Trump had sexually assaulted her in a dressing room in the 1990s. He insinuated that Carroll was mentally ill and that her accusations were an attempt by the liberal media to defame his father.

Harris gained popularity and attention during the debates for her emotional attack on Joe Biden’s past stance on race. The senator said that Biden’s boasts of working with segregationists were “hurtful,” and that his opposition to forced school integration via busing was unacceptable.

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