Cruz says citizenship talk evidence of 'silly season'
August 20th, 2013
11:30 PM ET
10 years 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. danR

    Mr. Cruz is entitled to renouncing his Canadian citizenship; he is not entitled to renouncing his Canada-natural-birth facts.

    August 20, 2013 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  2. Woman In California

    Silly Season originated from our American born president – you communist copycat.

    You have to listen in unbelief as these creeps find every reason imaginable to justify their despicable actions when what they passed around comes back around to them. This communist and his cronies have DISREGARDED AND DENIED the president's mother was even an American citizen but now, that its him, he wants to talk about his mother's U.S. citizenship? There's a place for Cruz and his troublemaking buddies and it's not a happy place. These people are beyond words and I hope he gets every bit of disrespect that he dished out to the president and I'm also glad his mother is alive to witness it ALL.

    August 20, 2013 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  3. Mopery

    I heard that Ted Cruz was actually born in Havana, in Communist Cuba, and that his Canadian birth certificate is a fake. So that's what I will believe, until he(or Donald Trump) personally provides me with Cruz's real birth certificate(long form only, we all know that anything else is a fake).

    August 20, 2013 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  4. equality for all


    Where did Cruz pay his taxes and did he use his dual citizenship in any manner such as...

    Businness Dealings

    August 20, 2013 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  5. Mike Buck

    Of course! Now that the Take Education Away (TEA) Party has a potential candidate who fits their nut job agenda, your place of birth doesn't matter. What a bunch of Wankers!

    August 20, 2013 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  6. bigboxes

    Obama, unlike Cruz, was actually born in the United States.

    August 20, 2013 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  7. FormerTeaPartyPerson

    I would like to know if Cruz was one of the birthers questioning Obama's citizenship? Was Obama not born to an American mother? So I guess the question is mute if Obama was born in Kenya or Canada according to Cruz.

    August 20, 2013 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  8. anonoymous

    Really...does this guy really believe what he's saying? Aca is law and there's nothing the gop can do about it. Where he's born no issue because he wont ever be president anyway..

    August 20, 2013 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  9. korkea aika

    PLEASE no more fake Texans for President, who come from somewhere else (like Bush) and pretend to be Texan (remember GW driving his pick-up truck to cut brush in the back 40?). Now this Canadian born "I am American" Cuban guy. NO PLEASE NO

    August 20, 2013 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  10. oncologynurse

    Mr. Cruz should visit patients struggling to live another day and worrying about how they are going to pay for the most expensive care in the world before he contemplates blocking the funding of the AHCA. Walk a mile in their shoes!

    August 20, 2013 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  11. Brad from Iowa

    I'm really an Americans citizen, eh. I renounce those Canucks and their universal healthcare, eh.

    August 20, 2013 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  12. Stephanie

    I can't wait for the Liberal Birthers to come You know, because it's only okay for Libs to ask where you were born.

    August 20, 2013 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  13. Thinker

    What a jerk. Tea baggers whined that Obama was not a citizen. Cruz wasn't born in the US, has dual citizenship with Canada. He is not American. Where are the tea baggers?

    August 20, 2013 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  14. boris813

    Where's Donald Trump when we really need him?

    August 21, 2013 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  15. Brad from Iowa

    Homer Simpson: "Canada? Why would I want to leave America just to visit America, Jr.?"

    August 21, 2013 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  16. Kris L

    Silly man. One, the 'wheels' are not coming off Obamacare, and wasting even more taxpayer funded time trying to do something that the majority in this country don't want you to do is just stupid. Second, remember it isn't enough in your own party to simply have a parent born in the US.

    August 21, 2013 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  17. davessworks

    Oh sure – it's just silly when it's a republican who's born to a US mother and a foreign father, even when he's not born in the USA.

    August 21, 2013 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  18. Boomer here

    Haha, the Tea Party's birther attacks have come home to roost. Run for office in Canada, eh Rafael?

    August 21, 2013 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  19. Tim

    Must be born on US soil. Not merely born to a US Citizen. That's the law.

    August 21, 2013 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  20. Robert

    so how is it silly when it happens to you, but when it happens to Obama, ehhhh well its a good possibility?

    August 21, 2013 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  21. SSampson

    Do you think we could send him back to Canada? Or would they call him an anchor baby.... it seems to me they probably wouldn't want him either, but its worth a try.

    I wonder if the paperwork is in place when he returned to the US – or if his first passport application is fraudulent. It would be SO hilarious if he turned out to be an illegal.... I'd laugh for days

    August 21, 2013 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  22. Angela

    OK what about his Cuban Citizenship as well. He is a man with many countries. His father was a Cuban citizen at the time of his birth which conferred on him Cuban citizenship as well. I have no problem with his attempt to run for president, but I am amused by the shrill voices who just know Obama couldn't be eligible who are very vey quiet now.
    His mother was an Americans, like Obama's mother was an American. He was born in Canada so he is also Canadian and his father was a Cuban citizens at the time of his birth which meant he also had Cuban citizenship if he chose.

    August 21, 2013 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  23. I'm NOT a conservative

    Did you say it was "silly season" when these allegations were directed at Obama or did you sit back and laugh like the rest of the so called republican leadership (sic) never saying a word about it being a bunch of nonsense or did you relish in the controversy and milk it for all it was worth?

    August 21, 2013 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  24. Craig

    Why are we listening to this Cuban-Canadian!?!

    August 21, 2013 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  25. Scales of Justice

    Where are the birthers? Pres Obama mother was an American citizen just like Sen Cruz. Double standard!

    August 21, 2013 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
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