Ted Cruz says he isn’t worried about liberal Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe’s position on whether he is eligible to be president, but what about conservative columnist Ann Coulter’s?
While Tribe might not carry much currency with Iowa conservatives, Coulter is another matter. The popular conservative columnist and former constitutional lawyer, who is a very vocal supporter of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, has been declaring to anyone who will listen that she does not think Cruz is a natural born citizen and therefore is illegible to be president.Asked whether the Cruz campaign worries Coulter’s position on Cruz’s birther issue might sway some conservatives to reconsider the Texas senator, Cruz campaign communications director Rick Tyler dismissed Coulter as an unserious commentator.
“Ann Coulter has said a lot of things, you know, she’s said a lot of bizarre things,” Tyler said in the spin room after Thursday’s Fox Business Network Republican presidential primary debate. “So I can’t answer personally for Ann Coulter.”
Over the last week, Donald Trump has raised concern on the campaign trail that Cruz might not even be eligible for the presidency because he was born in Canada and therefore might not be a “natural born citizen” as the Constitution requires. Most constitutional experts believe Cruz is a natural born citizen because his mother was an American citizen at the time of his birth, but a few, like Tribe, have suggested it is not settled law because it has not been adjudicated by the Supreme Court.
Coulter, who once claimed that Cruz was definitely a natural born citizen, now claims she has looked more closely at the matter and believes he is not.
“Forgetting how corrupt constitutional analysis had become, I briefly believed lawyers who assured me that Cruz was a ‘natural born citizen,’ eligible to run for president, and ‘corrected’ myself in a single tweet three years ago,” she wrote in a column published Wednesday. “But the Constitution is the Constitution, and Cruz is not a ‘natural born citizen.'”
During Thursday’s debate, Cruz accused Trump of only raising the issue because Cruz is now challenging him in the polls.
“I recognize that Donald is dismayed that his poll numbers are falling in Iowa, but the facts and law here are really quite clear,” Cruz, a Harvard-trained lawyer, said. “Under longstanding U.S. law, the child of a U.S. citizen born abroad is a natural born citizen.”
*Correction: This article originally referred to Rick Tyler as the campaign manager for Cruz’s presidential campaign. He is the campaign’s communications director.