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

  • RCMP commissioner warns continued IT failures will have 'catastrophic' consequences

    Canada News CBC News
    Canada's top cop is warning that ongoing computer network failures and slipshod service from Shared Services Canada could have "catastrophic" consequences for police and the public. CBC News has obtained a blistering Jan. 20, 2017, memo to Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale in which Commissioner Bob Paulson details how critical IT failures have increased by 129 per cent since the beleaguered department took over tech support for the entire government five years ago. Source
  • Tax-free saving schemes fail to prepare many for retirement: Don Pittis

    Canada News CBC News
    With the RRSP deadline only days away, the inventor of one of Canada's tax sheltered saving plans says there is evidence such schemes have failed to encourage people to save properly, and he warns there are changes afoot. Source
  • 'You can lose everything': Tenant's medical marijuana grow-op costs landlord insurance

    Canada News CBC News
    Longtime landlord Darryl Spencer was left scrambling for insurance after discovering a tenant was growing dozens of medical marijuana plants inside and outside his rental house. When the landlord told his insurance company about the perfectly legal grow-op, his coverage was cancelled, leaving him with no insurance, few rights and a big cleanup bill. Source
  • Battered eastern Ukraine seems headed into protracted on-and-off war

    World News CBC News
    On Feb. 19, one day before the latest attempt at a ceasefire in Ukraine, 51-year-old Vitaliy Yermolovich sat in the ruins of his home in Avdiivka in eastern Ukraine and laughed. "So, it'll be the 30th ceasefire?" he said, looking toward his neighbour, Telman Salimov, who fled the conflict in Karabakh nearly 30 years ago for the safety of Ukraine. Source
  • Father of dead Navy SEAL refused to meet Trump, wants Yemen raid investigated

    World News CBC News
    The father of a Navy SEAL killed during an anti-terrorism raid in Yemen is demanding an investigation into its planning and criticized the Trump administration for its timing. Bill Owens told The Miami Herald in a story published Sunday that he refused to meet with President Donald Trump when both came to Dover Air Force Base to receive the casket carrying his son, Chief Special Warfare Officer William (Ryan) Owens. Source
  • Ex-congregants of evangelical church reveal years of abuse

    World News CTV News
    SPINDALE, N.C. -- From all over the world, they flocked to this tiny town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, lured by promises of inner peace and eternal life. What many found instead: years of terror - waged in the name of the Lord. Source
  • Indonesian police kill suspected militant during attack

    World News CTV News
    BANDUNG, Indonesia - Indonesian police said they shot and killed a suspected militant in the West Java capital of Bandung on Monday after his bomb exploded in a vacant lot and he fled into a municipal building and set it alight. Source
  • Parade float crashes into specators during Rio's Carnival

    World News CBC News
    A float crashed during Rio de Janeiro's world famous Carnival parade Sunday evening and injured at least 12 people, including at least one person reported in serious condition, but organizers proceeded with the show. The incident involved the last float of the first samba school parading through Rio's Sambadrome. Source
  • 'This is not a joke': Confusion, Moonlight and other Oscar highlights

    World News CBC News
    There was drama, comedy and even a plot twist on Sunday at the 89th Academy Awards in Los Angeles. Here are a few memorable moments that stood out and, of course, the one that stood above the rest. Source
  • U.S. officials not yet authorized to vet Australia refugees

    World News CTV News
    CANBERRA, Australia - U.S. security officers have yet to be authorized by U.S. President Donald Trump's administration to vet refugees held on Pacific islands for potential resettlement in the United States, an Australian official said on Monday. Source