Sen. John McCainJohn McCainPoliticians absent from Thompson Reuters brunch McCain downplays threat of pre-emptive strike against North Korea McCain plan gains momentum amid North Korea threats MORE (R-Ariz.) on Wednesday questioned Ted CruzTed CruzKasich finds it hard to rule out 2020 Trump in campaign mode at NRA convention Trump’s hands are tied on 9th Circuit MORE's eligibility to be president, piling on to recent attacks over the Texas senator’s citizenship.
“I don’t know the answer to that,” McCain said of the GOP candidate's eligibility in a radio interview on “The Chris Merrill Show” in Arizona, which was reported by BuzzFeed.
“I know it 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 a territory when he ran in 1964.”
McCain, the 2008 GOP nominee, faced similar skepticism while he was running for president, but McCain noted that there are differences between his and Cruz’s birthplaces.
The Arizona senator was born on a U.S. military base. Cruz was born in Canada, but his mother was a U.S. citizen.
“Yeah, it was a U.S. military base,” McCain said. “That’s different from being born on foreign soil, so I think there is a question. I am 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.”
The Constitution says that in order to run for president, one must be a "natural born citizen" — long regarded as anyone born to a U.S. citizen, regardless of where that person is born.
McCain was weighing in on recent questions from GOP presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald TrumpSeven key players for Trump on immigration Spicer: Media coverage of Trump has not been fair Kasich finds it hard to rule out 2020 MORE about whether Cruz is a natural born citizen.
“You go to federal court, you ask for a declaratory judgment. Once the court rules, you have your decision,” Trump said in a Wednesday interview with CNN. “That will clear it all up."
Cruz is pushing back on claims over his citizenship, saying he never owned a Canadian passport.
"Of course not," Cruz told CNN earlier Wednesday. "Yes, I'm sure. The media, with all due respect, love to engage in silly sideshows. We need to focus on what matters."