WASHINGTON — Here are the facts: Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who may run for president in 2016, was born in Canada and his mother was a U.S. citizen.
Most legal scholars and Cruz agree that he’s an American. And if Cruz chooses to run for president in 2016, his technical Canadian citizenship shouldn’t matter, either.
But it seems to matter to Cruz.
After a spokesman initially denied that Cruz was a dual citizen, the senator said in a statement that he will renounce his Canadian citizenship.
“Now the Dallas Morning News says that I may technically have dual citizenship,” Cruz said. “Assuming that is true, then sure, I will renounce any Canadian citizenship.
“Nothing against Canada, but I’m an American by birth and as a U.S. senator, I believe I should be only an American.”
Cruz released a copy of his birth certificate to the Dallas Morning News over the weekend, proving that he was, in fact, born in Calgary, Canada, on Dec. 22, 1970. According to an expert in Canadian law quoted by the Dallas Morning News, that means “he’s a Canadian.”
But at first Cruz, through a spokesman, denied that he was a Canadian citizen, despite the incontrovertible fact that he was born there.
“Sen. Cruz became a U.S. citizen at birth, and he never had to go through a naturalization process after birth to become a U.S. citizen,” Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier told the Dallas Morning News. “To our knowledge, he never had Canadian citizenship, so there is nothing to renounce.”
Why duck his Canadian birth?
Here’s a clue: Billionaire-turned-political-agitator Donald Trump, arguably the only voice of the birther conspiracy theorists, also believes that being born in Canada is a problem for Cruz.
When asked whether he thought Cruz was eligible to run for president, Trump told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl: “If he was born in Canada, perhaps not. I don’t know the circumstances. I heard somebody told me he was born in Canada. That’s really his thing.”
Incidentally, Trump also doubts whether President Obama, who was born in Hawaii to an American mother, is eligible to be president.
Trump has not yet responded to an ABC News request for comment on the latest revelations.
On the other hand, the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation has already made the case in its handy Guide to the Constitution that the child of a U.S. citizen is considered by most constitutional commentators to be eligible for the presidency, regardless of where they were born.
The non-partisan Congressional Research Service made a similar finding.
So it seems Cruz initially was erring on the side of Donald Trump’s interpretation of things and making a play to appease those who might be uncomfortable with his place of birth.
Liberal columnist Jonathan Capehart made the case today that Cruz should renounce Canada for no other reason than the fact that “it wouldn’t look right.”
Meanwhile, Obama’s camp seems to think turnabout is fair play.
On Twitter, David Plouffe, Obama’s former campaign manager, poked fun at Cruz, despite or perhaps in light of the annoyance that “birther” rumors caused for his boss.
“Calgary Sun will need to get a primer on Iowa Caucus math,” Plouffe tweeted.