Cruz says citizenship talk evidence of 'silly season'
August 20th, 2013
11:30 PM ET
11 months ago

Cruz says citizenship talk evidence of 'silly season'

(CNN) – The newfound attention to Sen. Ted Cruz's citizenship is merely evidence of the "silly season in politics," the Texas Republican said Tuesday.

Speaking to CNN's Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley, Cruz said he didn't mind answering the questions about where he was born and where he's a citizen. However, he said, the question of whether he's eligible to be president is better left to legal experts.

"If you don't have anything to hide, there's no big deal," said Cruz, who was born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father. His full sit-down interview will air Sunday's "State of the Union" at 9 a.m. ET and 12 p.m. ET on CNN.

"My mother was a U.S. citizen by birth - born in Wilmington, Delaware. So under U.S. law, I'm an American citizen," he continued, explaining that he moved to Texas when he was age 4, and lived in Houston for most of his childhood.

"It's always been my home," he said. "And when I was a kid, my mom always told me that if I wanted to, I could affirmatively choose to claim Canadian citizenship. But I got a U.S. passport when I was in high school, I never did anything to claim citizenship, and I thought that was the end of the matter."

But that wasn't the end. After a report this weekend in The Dallas Morning News, which cited legal experts saying Cruz's birthplace makes him a dual U.S.-Canada citizen, the senator declared he was ending any Canadian citizenship he may hold – though the actual process of renouncing Canadian citizenship involves a four-page application and a $100 fee.

In the interview Tuesday, Cruz explained his reasoning.

"Serving as a U.S. senator – I was an American by birth, and serving as a U.S. senator, I think it's appropriate I be only an American," he said.

But Cruz's renunciation of his Canadian citizenship has led to more speculation about a potential run for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. Asked during a news conference Tuesday whether he thought he was eligible, Cruz deferred to other experts.

"The Constitution has its requirements. What I've said on this issue – I'll lay out the facts, where I was born and who my parents are, and I'll leave it to others to worry about it," he said. "I'm not going to speculate about legal consequences."

Cruz was in Houston on Tuesday pushing his goal of defunding President Barack Obama's health care law. The event was part of a week-long tour sponsored by the conservative Heritage Foundation that features Cruz's father, Rafael Cruz, as a headliner.

He was interrupted three times by hecklers during his remarks, though each time Cruz allowed the protesters to speak before continuing his anti-Obamacare address. The final heckler was drowned out by chants of "USA" from the crowd.

Cruz, along with fellow Republican Sens. Marco Rubio and Mike Lee, has said he'll not support a measure to continue financing the government if it includes funding for Obamacare. The current measure keeping the government funded expires September 30.

Some Republicans contest that tactic won't work, and will instead alienate some Obamacare opponents.

But Cruz, speaking at the news conference Tuesday, argued now was the time Republicans have the most leverage in their bid to get rid of the president's health care law.

"I believe that now is the best time we have to defund Obamacare," he said. "It's clear the wheels are coming off."


Filed under: Ted Cruz
soundoff (232 Responses)
  1. Larry L

    Cruz is a supporter of the Republican Plan for healthcare... that would be the uhh... well uhhh... actually they've got nothing. Absolutely nothing. It's the same plan they have for jobs, immigration, climate change and Social Security.

    August 21, 2013 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  2. 1rooster

    Hello birthers, I hear crickets chirping. Silence is BLISS!!!!!!

    August 21, 2013 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  3. Gloria

    I am waiting for the birthers to be outraged if Cruz decides to run for president. After all, many birthers are convinced that President Obama was born in Kenya and therefore legally should not have been president. Well, we now know that he was born in Hawaii of an American mother and Kenyan father. So he is an American by birth. But Cruz was born in Canada of a white mother and Cuban father. So, now that this has proven to be true, the birthers should have a very big issue with him if he decides to run for the presidency??!! Fat chance!!!

    August 21, 2013 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  4. zutux

    Go to downtown Los Angeles and pay100 bucks for a birth certificate and put a end to all the nonsense. When you go to east Hollywood Ask for Smokey...tell him I sent you. Ditch the tie though...you look like a cop with that thing around your neck.

    August 21, 2013 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  5. Robert

    Cruz/Charlie Sheen. 2016. Just win, baby.

    August 21, 2013 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  6. Larry L

    Cruz has a reputation of disrespectful behavior and even open disgust for military veterans. Starting with his early attacks on Chuck Hagel and moving towards his belief that veterans "don't deserve special health care" Cruz marks himself as an enemy of veteran's groups. Conversely, he saw an oilman's behind he didn't want to smooch.

    August 21, 2013 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  7. wallstreetcrime

    Silly season? Oh, Methinks Thou Dost Protest Too Much, Señor Cruz.

    If all your idiot followers wanted to claim Obama couldn't run because he was born in Kenya to a U.S citizen mother and foreign born father, then you can't either.

    Oh sorry, he could and he did and you can and you will.

    August 21, 2013 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  8. Joe White

    Funny that this happened to the Republicans, If they can heckle the president then they deserve the same stupidity upon themselves...

    August 21, 2013 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  9. GunnerGA

    Cruz is NOT natural born. The US Constitution lists only one specific way to be a citizen and that is to be born on the soil of the USA. All other methods are by legislative statute and can be altered. Since those legislative statutes about who is a citizen above and beyond what the Constitution says were not in place at the ratification of the Constitution, ONLY one born on US soil is natural born. Obama is Natural Born. McCain qualified on a technicality due to being born on a US controlled territory. But Cruz cannot. Born in Canada and raised there for four more years, he was seen as a natural born Canadian. And you can be natural born of only ONE country while having dual citizenship.

    August 21, 2013 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  10. Ram

    Ted may become a President and may become a great one of his country.
    Canada!

    August 21, 2013 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  11. El Educado

    No Mr. Cruz, you are a Canadian (born to a U.S. born mother) whom was raised in the U.S. Unless you applied for U.S. citizenship, you are not a U.S. citizen. If this was the case, all immigrants not born in the U.S. but birthed by U.S. born mothers/fathers would be U.S. citizens.

    August 21, 2013 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  12. Tina

    He really was born in Canada. His daddy was Cuban mother white. Obama born in Hawaii mother white daddy Aficain. whats wrong with this picture?

    August 21, 2013 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  13. Don Healy

    Noticed he renounced his Canadian citizenship, BUT not his Cuban citizenship inherited from his father. Does this mean he is a loyal Cuban Communist??

    August 21, 2013 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  14. Corncop

    So in all your infinite wisdom, and that of your Republikook cohorts, shutting down the government is a good thing? It makes sense? Here's a thought! Fund the rest of the government and just defund the legislative branch! Send yourselves home without your supper! And take a dictionary with you. Look up a few things like" compromise, or negotiation. You and the other Reds on Capital Hill act like a bunch of school kids. If you can't get your way, just take the ball and go home. Guess you will never learn that that is not an effective way to govern or get re-elected.

    I have been on the receiving end of those shutdowns several times as a now retired employee; and it's not fun or pretty. So just knock off the crap and do your jobs! I can tell you right now where my vote will not be going in any future election! You want three guesses?

    As for your being legally electable to the Presidency? I'm not worried much about the Canadian part. What about the Cuban connection? We are still engaged in the cold war with them. Do we have a closet Communist here? Maybe a Russian sleeper agent? Where is Senator McCarthy when you need him???

    August 21, 2013 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  15. Larry Hoover

    did he serve in US Military? did he register with the selective service?

    August 21, 2013 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  16. David

    I hope the reason there appear to be no comments here, is that everyone is speechless!!!!

    August 21, 2013 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  17. 10th Mountain Division

    A child born on foreign soil to a United States Citizen parent(s) is not automatically a United States Citizen unless a, "Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America" is filed with all "documentary evidence".

    The following comes directly from the United States Department of State:

    May 28, 2013

    A child born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent or parents may acquire U.S. citizenship at birth if certain statutory requirements are met. The child’s parents should contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to apply for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America (CRBA) to document that the child is a U.S. citizen. If the U.S. embassy or consulate determines that the child acquired U.S. citizenship at birth, a consular officer will approve the CRBA application and the Department of State will issue a CRBA, also called a Form FS-240, in the child’s name.

    According to U.S. law, a CRBA is proof of U.S. citizenship and may be used to obtain a U.S. passport and register for school, among other purposes.

    The child’s parents may choose to apply for a U.S. passport for the child at the same time that they apply for a CRBA. Parents may also choose to apply only for a U.S. passport for the child. Like a CRBA, a full validity, unexpired U.S. passport is proof of U.S. citizenship.

    Parents of a child born abroad to a U.S. citizen or citizens should apply for a CRBA and/or a U.S. passport for the child as soon as possible. Failure to promptly document a child who meets the statutory requirements for acquiring U.S. citizenship at birth may cause problems for the parents and the child when attempting to establish the child’s U.S. citizenship and eligibility for the rights and benefits of U.S. citizenship, including entry into the United States. By law, U.S. citizens, including dual nationals, must use a U.S. passport to enter and leave the United States.

    August 21, 2013 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  18. DJ

    Oh, I understand now. When Democrats talk about it, it's silly stuff. But when the tea party or Republicans talk about it, it's supposed to be serious. Yeah, right.

    August 21, 2013 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  19. Tommy Mack

    Well, as long as you are white, nobody will question you!

    August 21, 2013 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  20. Jordan

    Sen. Cruz, you are in fact not a natural born citizen therefore, just like Obama and Rubio, none of you are eligible to be the President of the United States.

    August 21, 2013 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  21. Canadian Mike

    Born in Canada = Canadian citizen at birth. But hey if he wants to renounce his Canadian citizenship we will study it for 5-6 years to see if its in our national interest and if he is not significantly raising greenhouse gases with his political blabber we may allow it.

    August 21, 2013 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  22. Doug Jackson

    So, as far as the presidency goes, I guess being born in Canada to an American mother is OK with right-wingers (he's a patriot, after all). But supposedly being born in Kenya to an American mother makes you completely ineligible. Hmm, do I smell hypocrisy?

    August 21, 2013 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  23. BeverlyNC

    For Cruz his country of birth and citizenship is "silly"? Why was it not absolutely absurd and ridiculous to accuse our President of not being a citizen when he was born in Hawaii? Why are there current "birthers" who still ignorantly protest President Obama is a non-American Muslim?
    The hypocrisy and hate of the Republican Party telling lies, obstructing all legislation, being the most do-nothing Congress in our history, betraying the American People on jobs, education, infrastructure, voter suppression and even healthcare for our returning veterans is beyond "silly". It is the worst kind of betrayal and unAmerican action contrary to the oath of Congress to SERVE the PEOPLE and not the corporations who buy Republican loyalty

    August 21, 2013 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  24. Dave Rogers

    I don't really see where he was born as a problem... If he wants to be President, there are other things to consider. What if he has a conscience? Will he be unafraid to sell US policy to foreign countries and domestic corporation in return for campaign money? Will he start wars that US arms dealers and warmongers order from a catalog?

    Will he have the strength and moral character to bail out banks and cut the budget?

    Will he be able to tell folks what they want to hear and then screw them over once elected? Bush did, Obama did... can Cruz play like a big boy?

    Can he support a well regulated press? What will he do if someone gets a leak from a government source? Will he be able to prosecute not only the leakers, but the publishers of leaked information?

    The US has stringent rules for Presidents.... I doubt he could go along with a straight face.

    August 21, 2013 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  25. just wondering

    I WANNA SEE THE HIDDEN SCHOOL TRANSCRIPTS...
    Everyone knows you were kicked out of school for that Donkey indiscretion thing..
    Gotta that you have watch out for that Rum when the donkeys is around...

    August 21, 2013 02:39 am at 2:39 am |
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