Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyAnother voice of reason retires Overnight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — FDA moves to sell hearing aids over-the-counter McConnell: GOP should focus on future, not 'rehash' 2020 MORE (R-Iowa) said on Tuesday that he believes it would take a constitutional amendment to change birthright citizenship after President TrumpDonald TrumpGrant Woods, longtime friend of McCain and former Arizona AG, dies at 67 Super PACs release ad campaign hitting Vance over past comments on Trump Glasgow summit raises stakes for Biden deal MORE floated he could do so by executive order.
By trying to change the 14th Amendment — which states that all persons "born or naturalized in the United States" are "citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside" — would spark an uphill court battle and pave the way for a showdown at the Supreme Court.
"I am not a lawyer but it seems to me it would take a constitutional amendment to change that as opposed to an executive order," Grassley told an Iowa CBS station.
He added that the 14th Amendment says "anybody born in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction there of and those last few words are very important. It seems to me born in the United States is pretty simple, subject to the jurisdiction there of might be a little more debatable by lawyers."
Grassley's comments come after Trump said in an interview with Axios, which aired on Tuesday, that he believed he could amendment the Constitution to nix birthright citizenship with an executive order.
"It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don't," Trump said during the interview.
"You can definitely do it with an act of Congress. But now they're saying I can do it just with an executive order," the president added, before stating, incorrectly:
"We're the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States ... with all of those benefits."
Most countries in the Western Hemisphere, including Mexico and Canada, have some form of birthright citizenship, though Canada and the United States are relatively unique among industrialized nations in having it.
GOP Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamPennsylvania Republican becomes latest COVID-19 breakthrough case in Congress McCain: Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner had 'no goddamn business' attending father's funeral Mayorkas tests positive for COVID-19 breakthrough case MORE (S.C.), who has emerged as a close ally of Trump's in Congress, quickly said he would introduce legislation mirroring the potential executive order.
And Trump's comments have sparked backlash from some Republican lawmakers.
GOP Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Biden makes his pitch as tax questions mount Emanuel defends handling of Chicago police shooting amid opposition to nomination Emanuel to take hot seat in Senate confirmation hearing MORE (Maine) told the Portland Press Herald that she believed an executive order would be challenged and blocked in court.
“I completely disagree with that,” Collins said. “If you are born in this country, you are an American. To me it’s that simple.”