Trump presses Cruz on Canadian birth in GOP debate

WASHINGTON -- Candidates in American presidential debates have often had to fend off accusations they're too liberal, too conservative, too wishy-washy or simply wrong-headed.

See Full Article

One has now been forced to parry the calumny that he's too Canadian.

Sen. Ted Cruz responded indignantly upon being pressed on his Calgary birth -- by both his emerging rival Donald Trump and by the moderators of Thursday's Republican debate.

"I've spent my entire life defending the Constitution before the U.S. Supreme Court," said Cruz, who is running neck-and-neck with the real-estate mogul in Iowa.

"And I tell you, I'm not going to be taking legal advice from Donald Trump."

The partisan crowd appeared to back him up -- cheering the Texas senator and booing when the debate moderator and Trump dabbled in the country-of-origin quandary.

Trump fired back that multiple constitutional scholars have raised Cruz's birth as a legal question mark -- one being Cruz's former Ivy League law professor, Laurence Tribe.

"Take it from your professor," Trump retorted.

He urged Cruz to go get a judge's opinion certifying his right to run, lest he later become the nominee and find his candidacy tangled up in court: "There's a big question mark over the head. And you can't do that to the party."

The U.S. Constitution restricts the right to run for president to "natural-born" citizens, without specifying what that means. Most of the contemporary political class assumes that is to shield the foreign-born children of Americans, like Cruz.

But several constitutional scholars have emerged to call it a legitimate question. They say the Supreme Court has never ruled on the definition of a natural-born citizen for the purposes of seeking the presidency.

Cruz replied that Tribe is a committed Democrat. He also pointed out that his increasingly bitter adversary has only suddenly started raising the birth issue, because his poll numbers are improving in Iowa. Trump admitted it.

Cruz's critics have revelled in teasing him about the fact that he was born outside the U.S. His American mother and Cuban-American father were working in the Alberta oil industry and he spent his first few years there.

Some pranksters edited his Wikipedia page Thursday to point out his Canadian birth. A lawsuit against Cruz's candidacy has already been launched, and more are expected.

Tribe says he believes Cruz should qualify -- only because Tribe personally favours a flexible approach to interpreting the Constitution, one that evolves over the centuries.

But he notes an irony: Cruz himself sees the Constitution differently.

He's a strict originalist who believes the Constitution should be interpreted exactly as written -- which means, according to Cruz's view, that the 18th century right to bear arms for the purposes of a militia should extend to all 21st-century U.S. citizens and include new forms of high-powered weaponry.

"To his kind of judge, Cruz ironically wouldn't be eligible," the Harvard professor wrote in the Boston Globe.

"Because the legal principles that prevailed in the 1780s and '90s required that someone actually be born on U.S. soil to be a 'natural born' citizen."

When Cruz pointed out that his former professor was a Democrat, Trump replied that several other scholars have voiced similar concerns. Cruz recently relinquished his Canadian citizenship, which he received at birth.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson in Turkey for talks

    World News CTV News
    ANKARA, Turkey -- U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Turkish officials on Thursday discussed ways to co-ordinate the fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, a day after Turkey said it has ended a military operation in northern Syria. Source
  • Syrian refugees top 5 million mark, UN refugee agency says

    World News CTV News
    GENEVA - The number of Syrians who have fled their country after six years of war has surpassed the 5 million mark, the UN refugee agency said Thursday. UNHCR announced the milestone a year after participating countries at a Geneva conference pledged to "resettle and facilitate pathways for 500,000 refugees" from Syria - but that only half of those places have been allocated so far. Source
  • 'Did we come here to fight?' Listen to this Vimy vet, who took a bullet to the head

    Canada News CTV News
    Like many teenagers, Bill Harrison was determined to fight in the First World War, even if it meant lying about his age. But the brave young man ended up leaving the war with a bullet in his brain. Source
  • Xi Jinping to meet with Trump in Mar-a-Lago in early April

    World News CTV News
    BEIJING -- Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump will meet for the first time on April 6-7 at the latter's Florida resort, China's foreign ministry announced Thursday. The future relationship between the world's No. Source
  • Conservative drop-off deadline approaches — but does anyone want out?

    Canada News CBC News
    If any of the 14 candidates running for the Conservative leadership are thinking of dropping out and keeping their name off the ballot, they will soon need to make up their minds. But with a midnight deadline looming on Friday, it doesn't seem that anyone is throwing in the towel just yet. Source
  • 'Very depressing': CIBC staff losing jobs to workers in India, expected to help with training

    Canada News CBC News
    CIBC is eliminating up to 130 jobs in its Toronto finance department and outsourcing the work to India. As part of the transition, staff losing their positions must train other local CIBC employees. Those employees then train the workers in India who will be taking over the jobs. Source
  • 'They are scared': CP workers say rookie engineers ill-prepared for dangerous job

    Canada News CBC News
    High in the mountains of southeastern B.C., the conductor of a 25,000-tonne Canadian Pacific Railway freight train pulling 2.5 kilometres of cars loaded with potash got a bad feeling. Headed west to Revelstoke, the train had just cleared a tunnel and was starting to build momentum downhill when he turned to the engineer, the man operating the massive vehicle, and said: "You know we're tippin' over here?" Source
  • U.S. internet service providers get green light to sell user data — but what about Canada?

    Canada News CBC News
    Privacy protections designed to prevent U.S. internet service providers from sharing or selling subscribers' personal information with third parties — without permission — were dismantled by U.S. Congress on Tuesday. It means that information about the apps American internet subscribers use, the websites they visit, and the things they purchase online — among other things — can potentially be tracked, shared, and monetized by third parties, unless those users opt out. Source
  • Federal Court orders public safety minister to make decision in immigration case

    Canada News CBC News
    In a withering ruling, the Federal Court has ordered Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale to make up his mind on a politically sensitive immigration case. The decision from Chief Justice Paul Crampton also makes it clear the minister is obliged to make decisions in a reasonable time frame, no matter how busy he is. Source
  • How will we know when police have earned their way back to Toronto Pride?: Robyn Urback

    Canada News CBC News
    If we accept that uniformed police officers should be banned from Pride parades in Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa because of their history of persecution of racialized, gay and other minority communities, as some local Black Lives Matter (BLM) groups and their supporters contend, then a number of other groups should likewise be prohibited from joining the festivities. Source