Donald Trump would be disqualified from the presidency under extremist birtherism, reports the Daily Mail.
At the most recent GOP debate a standoff over the birther issue took place between Trump and Canadian-born Ted Cruz. Trump has previously questioned Cruz’s eligibility for the presidency on birther grounds.
Cruz used the GOP debate occasion to hit back at his rival – Cruz pointed out that Trump’s mother was in fact Scottish, and therefore Trump himself is ineligible under extreme birther views, which state that in order to legally launch a United States presidential bid both the candidate’s parents and the candidate him/herself must have been born in the USA.
“But I was born here,” Trump shot back after Cruz pointed out that Trump has Scottish roots. “Big difference.”
Cruz himself was not born in the USA. Trump appears to be drawing on a strain of birtherism that says birth within U.S. borders makes a candidate eligible regardless of parental lineage.
Trump was undeterred, telling Cruz there’s a “big question mark” hanging over his head.
The real estate mogul even suggested that Cruz is being irresponsible and compromising Republican integrity by running:
“You can’t do that to the party.”
The exchange continued, with the men hurling jabs back and forth in what one viewer called “great theater.” Cruz eventually told Trump he would consider making Trump VP when he becomes president. Cruz reflected that if Trump is indeed correct, and Cruz is ineligible, the disqualification would then result in Vice President Trump taking over the presidency.
“[If] you happen to be right, you’ll get the top job at the end of the day,” Cruz said, with a cheeky confidence that implied that Trump is dead wrong.
“I like that, I like it. I’ll consider it,” real estate mogul Trump replied. “But I think I’ll go back to building buildings if it doesn’t work out.”
Trump first played the birther card on Ted Cruz as early as 2013. An interview from the time shows Trump refuting claims that he would not be taken seriously as a presidential candidate,
“[I have built] a company that looks like what this country should look like.”
Asked to give his opinion about other Republicans, Trump called Rand Paul “interesting” and himself “smart” and praised Cruz for fighting Obamacare. Trump goes on to play the birther card on Barack Obama, saying the president’s birth certificate could be fake, and suggesting that perhaps Canadian-born Cruz may not be eligible for the presidency either.
At the GOP debate, Ted Cruz accused Trump of having a flawed understanding of the legalities. Cruz emphasised that, unlike Trump, he has two parents who were born on US soil.
“At the end of the day, the legal issue is quite straightforward, but I would note that the birther theories that Donald has been relying on, some of the more extreme ones insist that you must not only be born on U.S. soil, but have two parents born on U.S. soil.”
Cruz listed a number of people who would be disqualified from the presidency under extreme birtherism. “Not only would I be disqualified, so would Marco Rubio, whose parents were born in Cuba, Bobby Jindal, whose parents immigrated from India, and, interestingly enough, Donald J. Trump would be disqualified because Donald’s mother was born in Scotland.”
That was when Trump shot back that he was born in America. “Big difference,” Trump scoffed.
The exchange got even more colorful, with Trump admitting openly that he brought the issue up because Cruz’s poll numbers had improved recently.
Cruz scoffed that Trump is launching birther attacks because he is upset about his poor recent poll performance.
“I recognize that Donald is dismayed that his poll numbers are falling in Iowa. But the facts and 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. If a soldier has a child abroad, that child is a natural born citizen. That is why John McCain, even though he was born in Panama, was eligible to run for president. If an American missionary has a child abroad, that child is a natural born citizen. That is why George Romney, Mitt’s dad, was eligible to run for president even though he was born in Mexico.”
Trump also put on a grandiose and confident show, offering Cruz the vice presidency right back.
Trump drew both boos and cheers when he opened up about his motivations, and explained why he has suddenly decided to up his attacks on his rival.
“Now he’s doing a little bit better! I didn’t care before.”
Viewers were divided on the exchange, though most enjoyed it. Some people thought it showed how “smart” Cruz is, others felt that it dragged on for too long, turning the debate into a sparring match over an unimportant issue.
[Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images]