— -- The White House says it would be "ironic" if the Republicans select the Canadian-born Ted Cruz as their nominee, given the "birther" drama that erupted over President Obama.
"It would be quite ironic if after 7 or 8 years of drama around the President's birth certificate, if Republican primary voters were to choose Senator Cruz as their nominee," Earnest joked to reporters. "Somebody who actually wasn't born in the United States and only 18 months ago renounced his Canadian citizenship."
When a reporter followed up asking if Earnest honestly thought Cruz was not a legitimate candidate, Earnest waved off the question.
Cruz was born to an American mother -- and held dual citizenship. His family moved to the U.S. when he was a young child.
On Monday, he took to Twitter to slam Trump's line of attack.
Running for president requires a candidate be 35 years old, lived in the United States for 14 years and a "natural born citizen," a term which has been the subject of debate.
Earnest's tone was much lighter than the one taken by Obama in 2011 as questions surfaced around his own birth certificate, a controversy also heavily fueled by Trump.
Obama even held a press conference where he announced he was providing his full birth certificate so the country could get back to its regular business.
"We’re not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers," Obama said at the time.