Here we go. I broached this topic over the weekend so why stop now? During a sit-down interview with ABC News’ Jonathan Karl on “This Week,” Donald Trump was asked if he thought Texas Senator Ted Cruz was eligible to be president even though he was born in Canada. The Donald responded as you might expect:
“Well if he was born in Canada then perhaps not…I don’t know the circumstances.”
Curiously, Cruz himself set the record straight last month when Karl asked him the same exact question (skip to the 2:25 mark):
My mother was born in Wilmington, Delaware. She is a U.S. citizen. So I am a U.S. citizen by birth.
Also, Politico ran a story last January attempting to get to the heart of this delicate matter:
While there’s no legal precedent for Cruz’s situation, most constitutional scholars surveyed by POLITICO believe the 42-year-old tea party sensation would be OK. But there’s just enough gray area to stoke controversy, as Cruz learned during his campaign for Senate last year.
The U.S. Constitution states: “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President…”
“The question ultimately is, What do we mean by a natural born citizen?” asked Yale law professor Bruce Ackerman.
“The problem is, no one knows what a natural born citizen is,” agreed University of California, Davis law professor Gabriel Chin, who argued in 2008 that Sen. John McCain was not eligible to be president.
Since Cruz is not a “natural born” citizen in the traditional sense (a point he freely admits and cannot hide from), scandalmongers will almost certainly take this as evidence he is ineligible. Meanwhile, as written, the U.S. Constitution is unhelpfully ambiguous on this question, a point the Cruz birthers have not and will not miss. Still, I’m not sure I’d put Trump into their camp just yet (he seemed awfully careful with the words he chose during the interview). But don’t count him out. As recently as Sunday he was still raising questions about President Obama’s birth certificate. So perhaps when he studies Cruz’s family history a little bit more, he’ll jump onto that birther bandwagon as well.
UPDATE: Read this piece by Byron York. Ted Cruz became an American citizen the day he was born.