Businessman Donald Trump hinted Saturday he might decide to sue rival Texas Sen. Ted Cruz over the legality of his U.S. citizenship.
“Ted has a lot of problems – number one Canada. He could run for the Prime Minister of Canada and I wouldn’t even complain because he was born in Canada, it’s a serious thing,” Trump told a few thousand supporters at a rally in Sioux Center, Iowa.
He said Democrats would look to sue Cruz if he became the Republican nominee. “There are already two lawsuits filed, but they don’t have standing, I have standing to sue (as a candidate), can you imagine if I did it? Should I do it just for fun?”
Though Trump went on to explain he’s confident on winning the GOP nomination, thus “I don’t really think its going to matter, that’s probably why I want to save the legal fees … maybe I would do it, maybe I won’t either”.
Cruz pushed back earlier this month during the Fox Business debate on claims made against him. “You know, back in September, my friend Donald said that he had had his lawyers look at this from every which way, and there was no issue there. There was nothing to this birther issue.”
He added, “the facts and the law here are really quite clear. Under longstanding U.S. law, the child of a U.S. citizen born abroad is a natural-born citizen.”
Cruz did become a Canadian citizen at birth due to that’s country legal system, which the senator didn’t realize until 2013. He formally renounced his Canadian citizenship in May 2014.
While there is debate over what defines American citizenship, the Supreme Court has never ruled directly on the criteria for presidential office holders.
In 2008, then-Republican presidential candidate John McCain faced questions over his own citizenship since he was born in the Panama Canal Zone, a U.S. territory at the time. Attempts to further the debate over his status didn’t pan out.
McCain did tell Phoenix radio station 550 KFYI in early January that his situation was different. The Arizona senator said that he “didn’t know” about Cruz’s eligibility to run for president and added, “it’s worth looking into”.
Chris Snyder is a producer for Fox News based in New York. Follow him on twitter: @ChrisSnyderFox.