Just 16 days until the Iowa Caucus and Donald Trump is engaged in a war of words with Texas Senator Ted Cruz. The debate began when Trump raised valid questions about Cruz’s eligibility to become president based on the fact that he was born in Canada.
Ted Cruz was born in Alberta, Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father. The Texas Senator gave up all claims to Canadian citizenship in 2014, but Trump pressed the issue when he asked: “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.”
Cruz argues that all children born to US mothers – even if abroad at the time – are considered natural born citizens according to the Constitution. He also suggested that the Dems are behind Trump’s questioning: “I will say it is more than a little strange to see Donald relying on as authoritative a liberal, left wing, judicial activist Harvard law professor who is a huge Hillary supporter,” said Cruz to reporters in New Hampshire. “It starts to make you think, ‘Gosh, why are some of Hillary’s strongest supporters backing Donald Trump?’”
Cruz thinks Democrats are lending their support to the billionaire because they believe their party’s nominee will be able to beat Donald Trump in the general election. “It seems the Hillary folks are very eager to support Donald Trump and the attacks that are being tossed in my direction,” he said.
Experience campaign watchers, aware of possible ulterior motives, might see Trump’s action against Cruz as twofold: 1. The argument puts both candidates in the limelight. 2. By tackling the necessary question of eligibility early on, Trump is ensuring that people will be tired of the question when election time rolls around. This is actually an old Clinton trick, publishing an issue in a controlled way so it doesn’t blow up at a critical time.
“At the end of the day, it’s whether or not Ted Cruz and Donald Trump are going to finally take the gloves off…and go after each other because they are neck and neck in a lot of polls, and one of them wants to become the nominee,” says GOP strategist Ford O’Connell.
To be more specific, Cruz has a slight lead on Trump in Iowa (26.7% to 26.2%). In New Hampshire, Trump has 30.2% to Cruz’s 10.8%. In regards to national opinion, Trump is the obvious frontrunner with 35%. Cruz came in second place with 19% followed closely by Marco Rubio with 11.3%.