Donald Trump reignited the debate over Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential eligibility on Friday by referring to the Republican candidate as a Canadian “anchor baby.”
The Republican front-runner, who opted out of Fox News’ debate in Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday night, noted that moderators Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace did not ask about the “natural-born citizen” issue. Only a natural-born citizen may become America’s commander in chief.
“He’s an anchor baby – No, Ted Cruz is an anchor baby in Canada. But Canada doesn’t accept anchor babies. They just waited a long time,” Trump said at an Iowa campaign event Friday.
Trump also brought up the issue when asked aboard his private jet if he would debate Cruz head-to-head. The senator issued the challenge while appearing on “The Mark Levin Show” on Tuesday.
“Well, I think you’ve got a real problem. I think Cruz has a real problem,” Trump told the Daily Mail. “I would do that. I would absolutely do that. But they’ve got a rule. He’s got to go for a declaratory judgment.”
The billionaire then joked Cruz would have “home-field advantage” at a Canadian venue.
Cruz has repeatedly rejected such attacks since Jan. 5. The senator was born in Calgary, Canada, on Dec. 22, 1970, but renounced his dual citizenship in 2014. His mother was a U.S. citizen, but his father had been born in Cuba.
“The very first Congress defined the child of a U.S. citizen born abroad as a natural-born citizen. And by the way, many of those members of the first Congress were framers at the constitutional convention,” Cruz told CNN on his campaign bus Jan. 8. “At the end of the day, this is a non-issue.”
Trump’s counter-argument is that respected legal scholars, including Thomas Lee of Fordham Law School, do not view it as a “non-issue.”
Lee told the Los Angeles Times Jan. 10 there are two principles an originalist must use to determine whether or not a person is a natural-born citizen:
- U.S. Jus soli, or the law of soil: A child was a citizen of the sovereign who ruled the land where he or she was born.
- Jus sanguinis, or the law of blood: A child’s citizenship was determined by the parents’ allegiance, regardless of place of birth. The law of blood would have applied to the father’s place of birth in 1788.
The professor said that only by allowing modern cultural norms to influence his reading of the Constitution, as a “living constitutionalist” would do, can Cruz deflect “birther”-type attacks on his presidential eligibility, WND reported Jan. 11.
“It’s a neat irony,” Lee told the newspaper. “The most conservative constitutional interpreters must find Cruz ineligible to be president. Liberals must grin and bear him. Cruz himself purports to embrace originalism as the correct view of the Constitution. To be faithful to his understanding of what the Constitution means, the senator may have to disqualify himself.”