Everything was going exactly according to plan for Ted Cruz and his presidential campaign. Until, suddenly, the question of whether he could actually serve as president — an issue that's percolated around Cruz for years but had remained on the back burner during the campaign — boiled over.
Cruz was born in Canada. Calgary, to be specific. His mother was and remains an American citizen. That makes Cruz a citizen. But does it also mean he fits the definition of a “natural born citizen,” as the Constitution requires America's presidents to be?
That is the question that Donald Trump — of course — raised this past week, first in an interview with The Washington Post and then in roughly 2 million follow-up interviews.
“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?” Trump said. “That'd be a big problem.” Later in the week Trump tweeted this advice to Cruz: “Go to court now & seek Declaratory Judgment.” Thanks, Donald!
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Cruz initially tried to laugh the whole thing off, tweeting a video of Fonzie from “Happy Days” jumping the shark — Internet-speak for when something has passed its sell-by date, culturally speaking. But then he put out a more serious statement insisting that “people will continue to make political noise about it, but as a legal matter, it's quite straightforward.”
That didn't stop Sen. John McCain, long at daggers drawn with the senator from Texas, from twisting the knife during a radio interview. “I am not a constitutional scholar on that, but I think it's worth looking into,” he said of Cruz's eligibility.
Fighting back against insinuations that he might present a problem for Republicans if he is the nominee was not the way Cruz wanted to spend a week this close to the Iowa caucuses.
Ted Cruz, for being birthered by the master, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.