House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi waded ever so slightly into the 2016 presidential race Thursday morning injecting more fodder into the ongoing discussion of whether Senator Ted Cruz is eligible to be president.
“This is inside baseball,” Pelosi said when asked if Cruz – who was born in Canada but to an American mother – could actually become President of the United States after Republican front-runner Donald Trump ginned up new doubts about the legality of Cruz’s chance.
The highest ranking House Democrat – who typically tries to avoid questions on presidential politics on Capitol Hill – gave a round-about answer.
“I do think there is a distinction between John McCain being born to a family and serving our country in Panama than someone born in another country,” Pelosi said referring to McCain, the 2008 Republican nominee, who was born on an American military base in Panama. “But again, this is a constitutional issue that will either be decided or not…my opinion means nothing here.”
Pelosi went on during her press conference with reporters Thursday: “I didn't pay any attention to it. I'm more concerned about the fact that, that Republicans in Congress think that trying to stop gun violence in our country is a distraction. That their first legislative act is to de-fund Planned Parenthood. That's really what my focus is, not where Ted Cruz was born.”
McCain stated Wednesday on the Chris Merrill Show that he didn’t “know the answer” if Cruz was eligible to be president.
Pelosi, who served as the first female Speaker of the House, has not officially endorsed in the 2016 presidential race but commonly uses the word “she” when referring to the next commander-in-chief – a clear nod to Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
“I wish them [Republicans] well in their process, whoever they nominate,” Pelosi said. “We feel very confident that we will be able to defeat and to do so in a way that lets many more members into the House and Senate and state legislatures across the country.”