White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday that it’d be “quite ironic” if Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) became his party’s presidential nominee.
Earnest — who is President Barack Obama’s top spokesman — said that it’d be amusing for Republican voters to back the Canadian-born senator after some conservative conspiracy theorists questioned Obama’s own birthplace.
“It would be quite ironic if after seven or eight years of drama around the president’s birth certificate, if Republican primary voters were to choose Sen. Cruz as their nominee, somebody who actually wasn’t born in the United Sates and who only eight months ago renounced his Canadian citizenship,” Earnest said during his daily press briefing.
Earlier this week, Republican front-runner Donald Trump repeatedly raised questions about whether Cruz is eligible for president given his birthplace.
Most legal experts believe Cruz easily meets the definition of a “natural-born American citizen” because his mother was an American. But Trump said voters should be concerned.
“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 would be a big problem,” Trump told The Washington Post on Tuesday. “It’d be a very precarious one for Republicans because he” 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.”
He added: “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.”
Some conspiracy theorists have long maintained that Obama was born outside of the US, and is thus ineligible for the presidency. In 2011, Trump was one of the most high-profile figures calling for Obama to release his long-form birth certificate, which the president eventually did.
When asked on Wednesday if Obama found Trump’s questions about Cruz’s eligibility amusing, Earnest smirked.
“I don’t know if he does, but I sure do,” Earnest said.
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