Donald Trump was far more certain about [crscore]Ted Cruz[/crscore]’s eligibility to run for president before the Texas senator started posing a threat to him in Iowa.
With Cruz surging into the lead in Iowa, Trump is raising concerns over whether Cruz, who was born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father, is even constitutionally eligible to run for President of the United States.
“Republicans are going to have to ask themselves the question: ‘Do we want a candidate who could be tied up in court for two years?’ That’d be a big problem,” Trump told The Washington Post Tuesday. “It’d be a very precarious one for Republicans because he’d be running and the courts may take a long time to make decision. You don’t want to be running and have that kind of thing over your head.”
“I’d hate to see something like that get in his way,” he added. “But a lot of people are talking about it and I know that even some states are looking at it very strongly, the fact that he was born in Canada and he has had a double passport.”
But back in August, Trump told The Daily Caller that “based on everything I see, there’s no problem” with Cruz’s eligibility.
Trump first questioned Cruz’s eligibility to run for president in March. But in his August interview with TheDC, Trump asserted that he looked into the matter and concluded that “the legal scholars have been satisfied.”
“Because other people have brought it up, and it seems like the legal scholars have all been satisfied,” Trump told TheDC. “It was never a big point for me, but I have watched other people question him, and the legal scholars have been satisfied.”
The Constitution requires a person to be a “natural-born” citizen in order to run for president. Most legal scholars argue that Cruz would qualify by virtue of his mother being an American at the time of his birth, even if he was born in Canada. Contra Trump, Cruz says he has never held a Canadian passport.
The legal scholarship on Cruz’s eligibility hasn’t changed over the last four months, but Cruz’s position in the polls has changed dramatically. When Trump talked to TheDC, Cruz was in single digits in Iowa, while the real estate billionaire was polling in the 30s. Now the race appears to be a near dead heat in the Hawkeye State, with Cruz holding a slight advantage, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average.