The last time real estate investor and reality show host Donald Trump pretended he might seek the presidency, birtherism was a central plank in the platform of his faux campaign. Four years later -- even after President Obama released his long-form birth certificate -- Trump continues to insist that our first African American president is an illegitimate usurper born outside the U.S. So what does Trump have to say about Ted Cruz, the Canadian-born Texas senator who announced his 2016 presidential campaign today?
In an interview with My Fox NY on Monday, Trump indicated that he also harbors doubts about Cruz's eligibility to be president, asserting that the Lone Star Republican has "a hurdle that nobody else seems to have at this moment."
"It’s a hurdle and somebody could certainly look at it very seriously," Trump added. "He was born in Canada, if you know, and when we all studied our history lessons, you’re supposed to be born in this country, so I just don’t know how the courts would rule on it. But it’s an additional hurdle that he has that no one else seems to have."
As Bloomberg's Ben Brody notes, the vast majority of legal experts agree that Cruz, whose mother was born in the U.S., meets the constitutional requirement of "natural-born" citizenship. The Naturalization Act of 1790, for instance, stipulates those born outside the U.S. to U.S. citizens are themselves natural-born citizens. Still, Trump has publicly questioned Cruz's status for two years, dating back to a 2013 interview in which he told ABC that Cruz was "perhaps not" eligible to serve as president.
For his part, the Queens-born Trump maintains that he's seriously looking at a 2016 White House bid of his own. Last week, he launched a presidential exploratory committee, and Trump associates reported that he was not yet renewing his contract with NBC to host "The Apprentice."
Trump has previously floated White House bids in 1988, 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012.