Cruz says citizenship talk evidence of 'silly season'
August 20th, 2013
11:30 PM ET
1 year 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. Lynda/Minnesota

    " ... because all that they are doing is mocking the real birthers out there."

    I'll push your comment even further and admit it's also loads of fun too.

    August 21, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  2. Anonymous

    Why is Donald Trump so silent on this?

    August 21, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  3. Al-NY,NY

    the right wing birthers don't have a clue what to do here. Their boy is born under more confusing circumstances than Obama yet they still cling to the idea that Obama is illegitimate while McCarthy, I mean Cruz is fine. I love it. Yet they will shout until they are blue in the face about Obama and Kenya. Truly an example of sheep mentality

    August 21, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  4. Data Driven

    I'm sure this was mentioned somewhere in the 170+ comments, but it bears repeating:

    Get your own catchphrases, Cruz. "Silly season" was coined by Obama. What's really silly is that you're running for President. You're probably not eligible, and no one outside the "tea party" likes your politics.

    August 21, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Marie MD

    Somebody posted that this guy is brilliant. He really isn't but he IS bat poop crazy.
    ------------
    I disagree, Marie. Cruz is one smart, slick, clever customer. He is a master at changing the subject, deflecting attention away from what really matters. Right now, I think he's trying use a circular agument to establish his credibility as a U.S. citizen so that when the isse comes up in 2015 he can claim, "that was settled years ago."

    Cruz was not "born a U.S. citizen", as he wants to claim. He is a "natural born Canadian" citizen, one born with the *right* to claim U.S. citizenship. This highlights the real problem for Mr. Cruz. This is from an article from yesterday.....

    ""Senator Cruz became a U.S. citizen at birth, and he never had to go through a naturalization process after birth to become a U.S. citizen," spokeswoman Catherine Frazier told the newspaper. "

    Cruz' own spokesperson has come out and said that Cruz has never claimed his U.S. citizenship. To assert that "he never had to go through" the process is ridiculous. They are forced to make the claim that Cruz is automatically citizen at birth because if they don't then he's never actually been a legal U.S. citizen, which means he fails the 14 years of citizenship requirement in the U.S. Constitution.

    August 21, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  6. Marty, FL

    Reap what ye sow, birthers...

    August 21, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Lynda/Minnesota

    " ... because all that they are doing is mocking the real birthers out there."

    I'll push your comment even further and admit it's also loads of fun too.
    ----------------
    I'm having fun at it, too. Listening to the former Obama birthers defend Cruz is the best part.

    Seriously, though. Cruz is launching a big smoke screen to hide the fact that he's not a U.S. citizen. He was not "born a U.S. citizen" as much as he was "born with the right to claim U.S. citizenship", which his own camp admits was never done. This is critical because if Cruz has never formally claimed U.S. citizenship, then he will fail the 14 year residency as a U.S. citizen requirement in the Constituion. Cruz is smart enough to know this, and he's smart enough to change the argument.

    August 21, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  8. Wake up People!

    If it weren't so serious it would be hilarious. This morning on our local Fox News station there was a Tea Party rep or Senator from MI on the news. I can't quite remember his name but he was talking to his supporters telling them how he hates Obama, hates that he had to stand next to him in a room but he respects the office of President. He also said, flat out, that he is and was trying to impeach Obama, but couldn't find a reason. What in God's name is this country coming to when elected officials show this level of disrespect to the Commander-in-Chief??

    Five years after President Obama was first elected and people still think he's not American. You reap what you sow Senor Cruz.

    August 21, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  9. John in Brooklyn

    Where was his sense that this is a silly issue over the past 5 years when it was being raised about the president (who, by the way, WAS born in the US)? His silence on this issue – along with the Tea Party nut jobs' attempt to flip flop as fast as they can – is breathtakingly hypocritical.

    August 21, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  10. Marie MD

    @geg, where does your republican friend live? Canada? England? Cuba? Hawaii? Massachusetts?
    In MD a visit to an emergency room sets you back $200 if you are not admitted. Ambulance? That's an extra $75 unless you drive yourself having a heart attack or stroke and don't drop dead ala repug/teatroll way before you arrive. For them it's better to be dead than use Obamacare or insurance if you are lucky enough to have it at present. After all they are taken care of. That's all that matters.

    August 21, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  11. simplyput

    Why are dems so threatened by a guy like Cruz? I don't get it. Just because one of your own (Alan Dershowitz ) calls him *off the chart brilliant* in the legal sense, he hasn't proved anything beyond one term in the senate.

    August 21, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  12. ThinkAgain

    "My mother was a U.S. citizen by birth – born in Wilmington, Delaware. So under U.S. law, I'm an American citizen," [Cruz]

    But according to birthers, if President Obama was born in Kenya of a mother born in Kansas, he's not a U.S. citizen.

    Anyone else wonder how these birthers' heads don't simply explode from the disconnect and hypocrisy?

    August 21, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  13. Nick5911

    His next event instead of chanting "USA, USA" Everyone should sing "Oh Canada, your home and native land..."

    August 21, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  14. ThinkAgain

    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."

    What did Cruz put down as his birthplace on his passport application? And why didn't he declare that his father was born in Cuba?

    If Cruz had been honest, he would have done both of these things, which would have triggered the State Department to request his Canadian birth certificate and naturalization papers.

    Hey, all you birthers, here's a REAL story for you to investigate: Find out what documentation was submitted when Cruz applied for his U.S. passport (and SSN, for that matter) – and find out if Cruz intentionally mislead the State Department in his efforts to claim U.S. citizenship.

    August 21, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  15. Laverne

    Why is it silly season when you Sir was actually born in another country and President Obama who was actualy born in the US has been plagued with stupidity since he first ran for president. What it is, is a double standard as usual! If I were the American people/opposition I would drill it into the ground because the Tea Party and hate filled repubilicans have not given President Obama a break or a moment's peace regarding his birth place! It is shameful and digusting who some white America conitinue to be so obviously prejudice towards some and not towards others.

    August 21, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  16. ThinkAgain

    Cruz and the GOP want to defund Obamacare because they know if will hurt the American people – at least those not wealthy enough to weather any financial storm.

    Why? Because it's all part of their end-game plan to eliminate the American Middle Class and their pesky desire to work for a living wage. The more folks losing healthcare, the more folks lose their houses, investments and life savings – resulting in more assets for American and multinational and individual "investors" to come to our country and buy up houses, companies, bridges, you name it.

    The GOP = rotting our country from the inside out, and blaming it all on that black guy in the White House

    August 21, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  17. Wake up People!

    No one is threatened by Senor Cruz. We're just giving the GOP a taste of what they have coming from now on. And if Senor Canada does get the nomination, we will scream from the rooftops that he was born in CANADA!!

    August 21, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  18. ThinkAgain

    @simplyput: "Why are dems so threatened by a guy like Cruz?"

    See, that's the problem with repubs: Call them on their stuff, and they start playing the victim card.

    Can't handle the heat ...

    August 21, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  19. Rudy NYC

    simplyput wrote:

    Why are dems so threatened by a guy like Cruz? I don't get it. ... ... ...
    -----------------
    Maybe, just maybe, you don't get it because there is nothing to actually get? Democrats do not view Cruz as a threat. I'd bet you $10,000 would love to see him at the top of the 2016 GOP ticket.

    August 21, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  20. Data Driven

    @simplyput,

    We're not "threatened" by Cruz (he'll never be President, of course), but we are exquisitely amused by him. As Goethe once sed, "Every Political Party Its Own Birther."

    August 21, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  21. Rudy NYC

    ThinkAgain

    "My mother was a U.S. citizen by birth – born in Wilmington, Delaware. So under U.S. law, I'm an American citizen," [Cruz]

    But according to birthers, if President Obama was born in Kenya of a mother born in Kansas, he's not a U.S. citizen.
    ----------------
    Cruz is pulling the old bait and switch. The real argument is whether or not, actually when, he is a U.S. citizen. Everytime he opens his mouth he's claiming U.S. citizenship at the moment of birth. Wrong. He was born a Canadian citizen, one with the right to claim U.S. citizenship. And, according to the Cruz camp, Mr. Cruz has never filed any paperwork to claim his U.S. citizenship, which means he's technically not a U.S. citizen until he claims it.....and then he has to wait 14 years to run for POTUS.

    August 21, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  22. ThinkAgain

    I was born in Germany of American parents (my dad was 30-year Army). When they applied for my Social Security card when I was 12, they first made sure that I was a naturalized U.S. citizen, which meant presenting my original birth certificate in German and my registration of U.S. birth abroad. When I applied for my U.S. passport, I provided originals of these two documents, along with my naturalization certificate (signed by Kissinger).

    How did we know to do this? We asked and found out the requirements.

    Why did Cruz and his family not do the same? Why did they try to defraud the U.S. government by omitting pretty basic facts like he was born in Canada and his dad in Cuba?

    Why would anyone support a guy like Cruz who obviously is either a pretty dim bulb – or somehow who doesn't have a problem lying?

    August 21, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  23. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Seriously, though. Cruz is launching a big smoke screen to hide the fact that he's not a U.S. citizen."

    It is beginning to look that way, Rudy. Why else would he willingly admit he "didn't know" he had "dual" citizenship when in fact he had to know that (a) he was born in Canada; (b) he spent his first four years living in Canada presumably as a a Canadian citizen; (c) he has shown no American documentation.

    August 21, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  24. Lynda/Minnesota

    Threatened by Cruz? No, dear. I am not feeling threatened by Ted the Canadian. I do find him quite amusing though.

    August 21, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    Lynda/Minnesota

    "Seriously, though. Cruz is launching a big smoke screen to hide the fact that he's not a U.S. citizen."

    It is beginning to look that way, Rudy. Why else would he willingly admit he "didn't know" he had "dual" citizenship when in fact he had to know that (a) he was born in Canada; (b) he spent his first four years living in Canada presumably as a a Canadian citizen; (c) he has shown no American documentation.
    ---------------
    No, no, no. You're stil lost in the smoke. Cruz is saying "I'm a U.S. citizen." over and over until people believe that it is true. His own staff admits that he's never had to apply, which means that he has never filled out the paperwork to CLAIM his U.S. citizenship.

    Cruz was not born with dual citizenship. He was born a Canadian citizen, one with the *right to clailm* U.S. citizenship, but a right that has apparently never been properly exercised. Thus, Cruz is shouting at every chance he can get, "I automatically became a U.S. citizen at birth." That's totally false. He had the right to claim it, and seems to have neglected to ever do so.

    August 21, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
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