Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) flipped Donald Trump’s suggestion that Cruz’s Canadian birth made him ineligible for president by reminding the audience at Thursday’s GOP debate that Trump’s mother was born in Scotland and accusing Trump of only bringing up the attack because Cruz was catching up to him in the polls.
“Back in September, my friend Donald said he had his lawyers look at this from every which way and there was no issue there. There was nothing to this birther issue,” Cruz said. “Now since September, the Constitution hasn’t changed. But the poll numbers have. And I recognize that Donald is dismayed that his poll numbers are falling in Iowa.”
Cruz went on to reiterate the argument made by his defenders and many (but not all) legal experts that children born abroad to a U.S. citizen are considered “natural born citizens” and are eligible to run for president.
“At end of the day the legal issue is quite straightforward,” Cruz said. “But I would note that the birther theories that Donald has been relying on, some of the more extreme ones insist that you must not only be born on U.S. soil, but have two parents born on U.S. soil. Under that theory, not only would I be disqualified, Marco Rubio would be disqualified, Bobby Jindal would be disqualified and interestingly enough, Donald J. Trump would be disqualified. Because Donald’s mother was born in Scotland. She was naturalized.”
Cruz, however, dismissed the legal theory and assured Trump, “You’re an American.”