After years of pushing birther myths that President Obama may not have been eligible for the presidency, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh hypocritically dismissed Republican claims that GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz may face eligibility problems due to being born in Canada.
Ted Cruz Faces Claims From Fellow Republicans That His Canadian Birthplace Could Make Him Ineligible For The Presidency
Donald Trump Claims Being Born In Canada Makes Cruz's Citizenship A “Very Precarious” Issue. During an interview with The Washington Post, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump alleged that because Ted Cruz was born in Canada, his citizenship would be a “very precarious” issue for Republicans if he were to win the nomination:
Donald Trump said in an interview that rival Ted Cruz's Canadian birthplace was a “very precarious” issue that could make the senator from Texas vulnerable if he became the Republican presidential nominee.
“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 said when asked about the topic. “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.”
Trump 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.”
Trump's remarks -- part of a backstage interview before a rally here Monday night -- come as Cruz is rising as a serious threat in the presidential campaign, especially in Iowa, where some polls have shown Cruz eclipsing the billionaire mogul. The two have had a cordial and at times even friendly relationship over the past year, but they are competing intensely for the support of conservatives as the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses draw near. [The Washington Post, 1/5/16]
Rand Paul Also Questioned Ted Cruz's Eligibility To Be President: “Without Question He Is Qualified ... To Be Prime Minister Of Canada.” On January 6, Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) followed Trump's lead and questioned Cruz's eligibility to be president due to his birth in Canada. Paul quipped, “I think without question [Cruz] is qualified and would make the cut to be prime minister of Canada”:
Rand Paul said on Wednesday that he's not sure if his Canadian-born rival for the Republican presidential nomination Ted Cruz is eligible to be president of the United States.
“You know, I think without question he is qualified and would make the cut to be prime minister of Canada, absolutely without question, he is qualified and he meets the qualifications,” the Kentucky senator said of Cruz on the radio show Kilmeade and Friends.
In an interview with the Washington Post on Tuesday, Donald Trump said Ted Cruz' Canadian birth would be a “big problem” for the Republican Party.
Asked again if he thought Cruz was qualified to be president, Paul said he wasn't “an expert” on what the Constitution says about natural born citizens.
“You know, I'm not an expert on the natural born clause in the Constitution and people have various opinions,” said Paul. “Some people believe it means you need to be born here, some people think it means you can be born in another country as long as your parents are citizens.”
“And we've had some previous cases of it, but I don't think we've ever gone through the court system for the Supreme Court to decide one way or another,” he continued. “It is interesting, and I think sometimes people point out that it's a double standard, in the sense that people went out, hot and heavy, including Donald Trump you know, about President Obama when there was really nothing more than conjecture that he wasn't born in the country. And yet, there hasn't been really the same outrage at all for some one who actually is born in another country.” [BuzzFeed, 1/6/16]
John McCain Said He “Doesn't Know” Whether Cruz Is Eligible To Be President And It's Something “Worth Looking Into.” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), a former Republican presidential nominee who similarly faced questions about his eligibility to be president due to his birth in Panama, said he “doesn't know” whether Cruz is eligible to be president during a January 6 interview, adding that “it's worth looking into”:
In an interview Wednesday on Phoenix radio station 550 KFYI's Chris Merill Show, McCain said he “doesn't know” whether Cruz's birth in Canada makes him eligible to be president. Cruz, whose father was born in Cuba, asserts that he is a U.S. citizen because his mother was an American.
“I know that came up in my race because I was born in Panama, but I was born in the Canal Zone which is a territory. Barry Goldwater was born in Arizona when it was territory when he ran in 1964,” McCain said.
McCain added that he was born on a U.S. military base, which he said is not the same as being born in Canada.
“That's different from being born on foreign soil. 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.” [CBS News, 1/6/16]
Hannity And Limbaugh Dismiss Birther Claims Against Cruz, Say There Is “No Issue”
Rush Limbaugh: Questions About Cruz's Eligibility Are “Getting Into Bizarro Territory.” During the January 7 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show, host Rush Limbaugh ridiculed those suggesting that Cruz's eligibility might be a problem. He described Sen. John McCain's comments on the matter as an indication that “it's getting into bizarro territory here now,” going on to say that the whole situation had him “laughing”:
RUSH LIMBAUGH: The latest to join this bandwagon suggesting that Ted Cruz may want to actually go to court and get some confirmation in the fact he's a citizen, it could be a problem out there, John McCain. John McCain now officially questioning Ted Cruz's eligibility to run for the presidency. It's getting into bizarro territory here now. Remember now, McCain was born in Panama, and his presidential eligibility is the same, and based on the same constitutionality as is Ted Cruz's.
It's amazing. Folks, I've scoured, and I left the program yesterday and this was a subject we were laughing about. I mean the way Trump was talking about it, raising the issue, but not opining on it. And because the Republican establishment is scared to death of either one of them winning. The gears got into full motion and people started investigating this constitutionally, intellectually. You would not believe. One website probably has 75,000 words written on this. And the 75,000 words include the learned opinions of countless other scholars on whether or not Ted Cruz is actually an American citizen. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 1/7/15]
Sean Hannity: “I See No Issue Here For Ted Cruz.” On the January 7 edition of Fox News' Hannity, Sean Hannity discussed Trump's allegations, stating that he “sees no issue here for Ted Cruz” and told Geraldo Rivera, who was inquiring about whether Cruz fit the definition of a “natural born citizen” that he was “going birther ballistic”:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): I see no issue here for Ted Cruz.
LAURA INGRAHAM: There's no issue whatsoever. He has dual citizenship, Sean, because his mom is a U.S. citizen, so he gets naturalized citizen as a result of that. This has already been looked into. In fact, on my radio show today, Chris Christie came to the defense of Ted Cruz, noting that, I guess at a rally, one of those Iran rallies on Capitol Hill, I believe even Donald Trump, according to Christie, had acknowledged that you know, Ted Cruz, of course, was eligible and just because he was born in Canada, in this case his mom being a citizen, it didn't affect it.
HANNITY: He gave up his Canadian citizenship. Geraldo, you think there might be something to this?
GERALDO RIVERA: Let's go back. The Naturalization Act of 1790, three years after the Constitution, said that children of citizens shall be considered natural born citizens. That's in 1790. Five years later, in 1795, they amended the Naturalization Act of 1795 and said the children of citizens, wherever born, are citizens. It excluded the phrase natural born citizens when they amended the act. [CROSSTALK]
HANNITY: Geraldo, that's a stretch, come on. That's a stretch.
HANNITY: I think you're going birther ballistic, and I don't think it's going to work. [Fox News, Hannity, 1/6/16]
Both Were Defenders Of Birtherism Arguments When The Allegations Were Against Obama
Hannity Previously Defended Questions About Obama's “Birth Certificate Issue,” Saying “It Kind Of Does Get A Little Odd Here.” On the March 23, 2011 edition of Fox News' Hannity, host Sean Hannity discussed President Obama's birthplace with a panel, and alleged that the birther movement was a legitimate movement because “he grew up in a foreign country” and said the fact that Obama did not publicly release his birth certificate at the time was “a little odd”:
SEAN HANNITY: What do you think about this birth certificate issue? I mean, it has not been my main issue, but it kind of does get a little odd here after a while. Can't they just produce it and we move on?
REP. MICHAEL BURGESS (R-TX): Well, obviously, there's some value to the White House not producing it. I don't know what that could be. This easily could be ended, could have been ended a couple of years ago. I don't know --
HANNITY: Jerry, that's a reasonable position. Is he right?
JERRY SPRINGER (talk show host): Well, no. I'll tell you why.
SPRINGER: But you know what, I understand why there's a resistance to it.
SPRINGER: Because isn't this interesting? Of all our 43 presidents, of the 43 presidents --
HANNITY: Don't bring up race. Do not bring up race. Do not bring up race. It is a constitutional requirement.
SPRINGER: I understand, but why have not of the 43 people we had has run -- be president of the United States, never once were you asking, “Where is your birth certificate? ”
BURGESS: It was an issue -- it was an issue for John McCain.
HANNITY: Because he lived in Indonesia as a kid. He talked about, you know, the prayer at sunset being one of the most beautiful things he's ever seen.
HANNITY: So, so, he grew up in a foreign country. So some have said, all right, you grew up in Hawaii, it's a constitutional requirement, show us. What's the big deal? [Fox News, Hannity, 3/23/11]
Hannity Defended Birthers: “Why Are They Crucified And Beaten Up And Smeared And Besmirched?” During the March 24, 2011 edition of his radio show, The Sean Hannity Show, Hannity defended people pushing birther theories asking, “why are all these people that just asked to see [Obama's birth certificate], why are they crucified and beaten up and smeared and besmirched the way they are?” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 3/24/11]
Hannity: “What's Wrong With Asking” Obama To Show His Birth Certificate? While discussing Trump's birth comments during the March 25, 2011 edition of his show, Hannity asked, “what's wrong with asking about, OK, can you just show us the birth certificate?” stating “Do I think he was [born in America]? Yes. Do I think this is odd that they won't produce the birth certificate? It's beginning to get odd to me.” Hannity later stated that it's “not true” that Obama had already shown his birth certificate. [Fox News, Hannity, 3/25/11]
Rush Limbaugh: “Barack Obama Has Yet To Prove He's A Citizen.” On the July 20, 2009 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show, Limbaugh claimed that President Obama “has yet to prove he's a citizen” and “all he'd have to do is show a birth certificate”:
RUSH LIMBAUGH: Barack Obama has yet to have to prove he's a citizen. All he'd have to do is show a birth certificate. He has yet to have to prove he's -- I have to show them 14 different ways where the hell I am every day of the year for three years. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 7/20/09]
Limbaugh Floated Rumor That Obama Went To Hawaii Because There Was Something “Screwy With His Birth Certificate,” Not That His Grandmother Was Ill. On the October 22, 2008 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show, Limbaugh speculated that Obama was not going to Hawaii to be with his ailing grandmother, but because there was something “screwy with his birth certificate and something's screwy about the fact that he's allegedly a natural citizen”:
RUSH LIMBAUGH: Who announces days in advance they're rushing to the side of a loved one who is deathly ill, but keeps campaigning in a race that's said to be over, only to go to the loved one's side days later? See, I think this is about something else. You know what's really percolating out there? And I've been laying low on this because it just -- it hasn't met the threshold to pass the smell test on this program. But this birth certificate business, this lawsuit that a guy named Phillip Berg filed in Philadelphia in August for Obama to produce his genuine birth certificate, and he still hasn't replied, he hasn't done so.
And this birth certificate business -- I'm just wondering if something's up. I have no clue, and I -- folks, I'm telling you, this has not reached the threshold until now, and it's now popping up all over the place. There are a lot of people now that are starting to speculate and be curious about this. I don't know. Let's say, for example, that somebody does come up with proof that Obama -- something's screwy with his birth certificate, and something's screwy about the fact that he's allegedly a natural citizen, American citizen but may not be, dual citizenship, born in Kenya, who knows, there's all kinds of stuff out -- so what? What's gonna happen this late in the campaign? Do you think, if it's proven, that they're gonna dump him? That's not gonna happen. But there's still -- these are just questions that I have. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 10/23/08]
Legal Experts Confirm Ted Cruz Is Eligible To Be President, Despite Being Born In Canada
ABC News: “Most Legal Experts” Agree Ted Cruz Is “Eligible To Occupy The Oval Office.” In a January 6 article, ABC News reported that “most legal experts,” and two former Solicitors Generals, agree that Ted Cruz “is eligible to occupy the Oval Office”:
Donald Trump says questions about whether Ted Cruz is eligible to be President of the United States could become a “big problem” for the Canadian-born Republican candidate. But among legal scholars, there's a consensus: He's eligible to occupy the Oval Office.
The Texas senator, who was born in Calgary, Canada, to an American mother, has been widely viewed as meeting the “natural born citizen” requirement of the United States Constitution. And most legal experts agree -- including former Solicitors General Neal Katyal and Paul Clement.
“An individual born to a U.S. citizen parent -- whether in California or Canada or the Canal Zone -- is a U.S. citizen from birth and is fully eligible to serve as President,” the bipartisan duo wrote in a Harvard Law Review article in March 2015. [ABCNews.com, 1/6/16]