Scott Walker talks birthright citizenship

MANCHESTER, N.H.—Days after seeming to echo Donald Trump's call for ending birthright citizenship, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Friday said he isn't for or against the idea.

"I'm not taking a position on it one way or the other," the 2016 Republican presidential hopeful said. Only after securing America's borders, he explained, is it appropriate to address the issue of birthright citizenship.

Walker spoke in an interview with CNBC at the end of a turbulent week in the Republican campaign. Trump, who leads in polls of Republican voters nationally and here in New Hampshire, released an immigration plan that called for ending automatic citizenship for anyone born in the U.S. regardless of the legal status of the parents.

Asked after Trump released his plan if he agreed with the idea, Walker told MSNBC: "Yeah, to me it's about enforcing the laws in this country."

Scott Walker with CNBC's John Harwood
Mary Stevens | CNBC
Scott Walker with CNBC's John Harwood

On Friday, Walker said his stance had been misunderstood during a long campaign day involving numerous interviews marked by interruptions.

The Wisconsin governor once stood on the left side of the Republican debate, favoring a path to citizenship for immigrants who entered the country illegally. He has since explained that he changed his mind in response to additional information.

Walker, who titled his recent book "Unintimidated," insisted he had not been intimidated by the blustery Trump or his views.

"I don't talk about the guy," Walker said, noting that he has discussed "the bigger issue of immigration" for months.

Referring to the media, he added, "You guys talk about him. You guys might be intimidated, but I'm not."