Ted Cruz tonight said that under the “birther theories” Donald Trump is circulating about his candidacy would also disqualify Trump himself, as his mother was born in Scotland. Cruz also noted Trump previously said this wasn’t an issue: ”My friend Donald said he had his lawyers look at this from every which way and there was no issue there … Now since September, the Constitution hasn’t changed — but his poll numbers have.”
Here’s the full exchange:
CAVUTO: That fellow next to you, Donald Trump and others, have said being born in Canada means you are not natural born and that has raised questions about your eligibility. Do you want to try to close this topic once and for all tonight?
CRUZ: Well, Neil, I’m glad we’re focusing on the important topics of the evening. [Laughter] Back in September, my friend Donald said he had his lawyers look at this from every which way and there was no issue there. There was nothing to this birther issue. Now since September, the Constitution hasn’t changed. [Laughter] But the poll numbers have. [Cheering] And I recognize, I recognize that Donald is dismayed that his poll numbers are falling in Iowa. But the facts and law here are really quite clear. Under longstanding U.S. law, the child of a U.S. citizen born abroad is a natural born citizen. If a soldier has a child abroad, that child is a natural born citizen. That’s why John McCain, even though he was born in Panama, was eligible to run for president. If an American missionary has a child abroad, that child is a natural born citizen. That’s why George Romney, Mitt’s dad, was eligible to run for president, even though he was born in Mexico. At end of the day the legal issue is quite straightforward but I would note that the birther theories that they’re relying on, one of the more extreme ones, you must not only be born on U.S. soil but have two parents born on U.S. soil and under that theory, not only would I be disqualified, Marco Rubio would be disqualified, Bobby Jindal would be disqualified and interestingly enough, Donald J. Trump would be disqualified. [Cheering] Because, because Donald’s mother was born in Scotland. She was naturalized. Now Donald —
TRUMP: But I was born here.
CRUZ: On the issue of citizenship Donald —
TRUMP: –Big difference.
CRUZ: On issue of citizenship I’m not going to use your mother’s birth against you.
TRUMP: Because it wouldn’t work.
CRUZ: You’re an American. As is everybody else on this stage and I would suggest we focus on who’s best prepared to be commander-in-chief because that’s the most important question facing the country.