U.S. President Barack Obama decided to have a little fun at Ted Cruz’s expense during Thursday night’s state dinner with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Obama offered up a toast to shared values and opportunity and said that those values were having a big influence on the 2016 presidential race.
"Where else could a boy born in Calgary run for president of the United States?" he said, referring to Cruz.
The Texas senator and Republican presidential hopeful was born in the Alberta city and lived there until he was four. His father is from Cuba, and his mother is a U.S. citizen, which under the Naturalization Act of 1790 makes Cruz an American citizen.
Cruz’s Canadian birth has become a campaign issue during his presidential bid, with front-runner Donald Trump calling his eligibility into question and a number of lawsuits being filed in states across the nation to keep Cruz off the ballot in primary elections.
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"Republicans are going to have to ask themselves the question, 'Do we want a candidate who could be tied up in court for two years?' That'd be a big problem," Trump said in January. "It'd be a very precarious one for Republicans, because he'd be running, and the courts may take a long time to make a decision. You don't want to be running and have that kind of thing over your head."
So far, all lawsuits brought against Cruz on the matter have been dismissed.
Obama’s comment about Cruz’s birthplace is not the first time that his administration has had fun with the topic – especially after Obama spent years battling allegations from “birthers” that he wasn’t born in Hawaii.
“It would be quite ironic if, after seven or eight years of drama around the president’s birth certificate, Republican primary voters were to choose Senator Cruz as their nominee – somebody who actually wasn’t born in the United States and only 18 months ago renounced his Canadian citizenship,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in January.