This coming Thursday, January 14, the Fox Business Network will air the next Republican presidential debate, focusing on economic, domestic and international policy issues. I am holding out hope, however, that one of the moderators asks Donald Trump the following question:
“Mr. Trump, some people have raised the issue of Ted Cruz’s eligibility to seek the presidency, most recently Ann Coulter, a supporter of yours. Most legal scholars agree that Mr. Cruz would be eligible to run for president because his mother was an American citizen at the time of his birth in Canada. Do you agree? And if yes, how is Mr. Cruz’s situation any different from that of President Obama whose mother was also an American citizen born in Kansas?”
Trump needs to be put on the spot. If he disagrees, then why hasn’t he, the “king of the birthers,” aggressively gone after Ted Cruz as he did with our President? If he agrees, then why did he push so hard for the President to produce his long form birth certificate? If a candidate’s birth place is not the deciding factor, then President Obama was always eligible for the office … even if he had been born out of the country (which is clearly not the case), like Ted Cruz?
The constitutional requirements for a presidential candidate created by the Founding Fathers are concise but not very clear. Two provisions are obvious: The candidate must be 35 years of age and a resident of the United States for 14 years. The third qualification: He or she must be a “natural born citizen.”
But what does “natural born citizen” mean?
The Supreme Court — the ultimate arbiter of constitutional questions — has never directly ruled on the citizenship provision for presidential office seekers. And that means a note of uncertainty exists. Legal experts agree that a child becomes a “natural born citizen” if either parent is an American citizen, regardless of where the birth takes place.
There have been a number of unsuccessful citizen lawsuits filed over the years on this issue but they have all been dismissed due to lack of standing. About the only way a court would get involved in this “constitutional ambiguity” is if a state, citing Cruz’s Canadian birthplace, tries to exclude him from the ballot, or another presidential candidate challenges Cruz’s eligibility.
Both highly unlikely!
Getting back to Trump, a question such as the one I propose would be very revealing. If he truly thinks Cruz’s Canadian birth disqualifies him from office, why has he not championed this issue as he did with Obama? If he agrees with the accepted legal understanding that Cruz is a “natural born citizen” because his mother was an American citizen, why did he fight so hard for Obama to prove he was born in the United States… if it doesn’t matter?
It is more than obvious to most people with at least half a brain that the whole “birther” movement was, and is, nothing but a racist reaction to Obama’s status as the first African American president of the United States.
Now if old Jeb wanted to do something useful, he as a plaintiff with standing, should ask a court to weigh in on this important issue, once and for all.