Donald Trump on Tuesday revived questions about Ted Cruz’s eligibility to become president, saying Republicans could be in a “very precarious” situation by selecting the Canadian-born conservative as the party’s presidential nominee.
Trump told the Washington Post:
“Republicans are going to have to ask themselves the question: ‘Do we want a candidate who could be tied up in court for two years?’ That’d be a big problem,” Trump said when asked about the topic. “It’d be a very precarious one for Republicans because he’d be running and the courts may take a long time to make decision. You don’t want to be running and have that kind of thing over your head.”
Trump added, “I’d hate to see something like that get in his way. But a lot of people are talking about it and I know that even some states are looking at it very strongly, the fact that he was born in Canada and he has had a double passport.”
The Texas senator was born in Calgary, Canada, to an American mother. Legal experts, however, largely agree Cruz would qualify as a “natural born citizen” and could serve as commander-in-chief.
This isn’t the first time Trump, who first rose to political relevance by questioning President Barack Obama’s place of birth, has questioned Cruz’s eligibility. Last March, he said: “It’s a hurdle. Somebody could certainly look at it very seriously. He was born in Canada. If you know and when we all studied our history lessons, you are supposed to be born in this country, so I just don't know how the courts will rule on this.”
Trump, however, has also flip-flopped on the issue, telling ABC News in September, “I hear it was checked out by every attorney and every which way and I understand Ted is in fine shape.”
Cruz has aligned himself with Trump for much of the campaign, though the informal partnership seems to be ending as both sit atop the polls with less than one month to go before the Iowa caucuses.
Cruz quickly turned to social media to poke fun at Trump’s claim:
Later when Cruz was repeatedly asked by reporters about Trump's comments, he said, "I'm going to stick with Fonzie jumping the shark."