Frenemies: Trump Ignites Birther Bandwagon Against Cruz

The birther issue is back and this time Senator Ted Cruz is the bull’s eye. This week GOP front runner Donald Trump raised questions about the Texas Senator’s citizenship when asked about it by the Washington Post.

In the interview, Trump said it could be a “big problem” adding, “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.”

Unfazed, Cruz playfully responded to Trump with a tweet featuring a clip from the TV show “Happy Days” with iconic character Fonzie jumping a shark.

Cruz’s response did little to put the citizenship question to bed instead it ignited a birther bandwagon. Both 2016 GOP candidate Rand Paul and former Republican presidential nominee, Senator John McCain jumped on board with their criticisms.

On Wednesday Paul told Fox News radio show Kilmeade & Friends, that he is not an expert on the “natural-born clause in the Constitution.” He jokingly added, Cruz is “qualified and would make the cut to be Prime Minister of Canada, you know, without question he is qualified and meets the qualifications.”

Paul also said he is “harmlessly” raising the question.

The same day in an Arizona radio interview on The Chris Merrill Show, McCain mirrored Trump’s concerns about Cruz’s eligibility for the presidential office.

"I think there is a question. I'm not a constitutional scholar on that, but I think it's worth looking into. I don't think it's illegitimate to look into it," said McCain.

McCain was born on a military base in the Panama Canal Zone where his father was stationed. He says he got ahead of the issue in 2008 when he ran for president explaining, “the Panama Canal was a territory of the U.S.”

Ted Cruz was born in Canada in 1970, at the time his mother was a United States citizen; his father was Cuban born. According to the Congressional Research Service: “The weight of legal and historical authority indicates that the term “natural born” citizen would mean a person who is entitled to U.S. citizenship “by birth” or “at birth,” either by being born “in” the United States and under its jurisdiction, even those born to alien parents; by being born abroad to U.S. citizen-parents; or by being born in other situations meeting legal requirements for U.S. citizenship “at birth.”

On Thursday, Trump was back for round two picking up McCain’s birther baton with a tweet; reminding people Cruz denounced his Canadian citizenship just 18 months ago.

Trump sent a follow up tweet offering Cruz “free legal advice”:

Cruz sounded off in a CNN interview downplaying the issue and blaming the media for engaging in “silly sideshows.” He explained it is a “non-issue” citing the Constitution.

The White House also weighed in on the Ted Cruz birther speculation, press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters he enjoyed watching Donald Trump raise birther concerns on fellow Republican Cruz.

“It would be quite ironic if after 7 or 8 years of drama around the President's birth certificate, if Republican primary voters were to choose Senator Cruz as their nominee," said Earnest in a humorous tone. “Somebody who actually wasn't born in the United States and only 18 months ago renounced his Canadian citizenship.”

In the past the real estate mogul launched a birther attack on President Obama, suggesting he was born in Kenya and demanded an investigation into the matter. In 2011, Obama announced he would release his full birth certificate so the country could get back to solving real problems.