Well, it seems that the campaign trail bromance between fellow Republican presidential wanna-bes Sen. Ted Cruz and Donald Trump is no more. After all the good times the pair have had in recent months, somebody asked the Donald what he thought about Cruz's candidacy and Trump immediately pointed out that Cruz (gasp) was born on Canadian soil.
Yep, that's right, Trump went birther on Cruz.
Now, most people would assume that Cruz, born in Calgary in 1970 to his U.S.-citizen mother and his Cuban father, would simply be a United States citizen, with all the perks that come with that deal. True, there are some rules everyone has to follow, but they aren't terribly complicated — the U.S. Constitution only requires a president be a “natural-born citizen," at least 35 years old and have lived in the United States for at least 14 years. Cruz also ended up technically holding duel citizenship in Canada because of where he was born, but he formally ditched his chance for a Canadian passport in 2014. And while he probably hoped that would be the end of the story, Cruz must have known that it would come up eventually once Trump was in the race.
Trump is a notorious birther, and he's used the whole not-born-on-U.S.-soil argument before with impressive results. His ardent insistence that Barack Obama wasn't eligible to be president led to Obama releasing a copy of his birth certificate in 2011 and it almost led to a "Trump for president" campaign in 2012. While he and Cruz played nice initially when they were both long-shots to score the GOP ticket, the two have lost that cordiality as Cruz has turned into a serious threat in the presidential campaign, particularly in the Iowa caucus.
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Thus it's no surprise Trump is now wielding his birther club against Cruz. In fact, Trump had dabbled at bringing up the whole birthplace issue before now. He made a subtle (at least for Trump) reference to Cruz's Cuban-born father last month: “Just remember this — you’ve got to remember, in all fairness, to the best of my knowledge, not too many evangelicals come out of Cuba, okay?"
But this week Trump got asked the question and he went for it, according to the Washington Post:
“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. It’d be a very precarious one for Republicans because he’d be running and the courts may take a long time to make a 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. 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.”
And with one fell swoop, the great oh-so-public (and most likely very fake) "friendship" between the two top GOP presidential contenders came to an end. Cruz's camp countered by tweeting a link to Happy Days, implying that Trump has jumped the shark. Who knows if that's even possible at this point, but we do know that these two won't even be pretending to be friends from here on out. It'll be so awkward — and glorious and strange and disturbing all at the same time — if these two end up as running mates.