Ted Cruz downplays citizenship talk as a ‘silly’ distraction

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Tuesday called the recent talk about his citizenship and eligibility for the presidency evidence of the “silly season in politics.”

In an interview with CNN’s Candy Crowley for next Sunday’s “State of the Union,” Cruz said he was open to discussing his citizenship, and that he was American.

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“If you don't have anything to hide, there's no big deal,” said Cruz, whose recent visits to early voting states has fueled speculation he may run for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.

“My mother was a U.S. citizen by birth — born in Wilmington, Del. So under U.S. law, I'm an American citizen,” he added.

Cruz, who was born in Canada to an American mother and Cuban father and moved to the U.S. at the age of four, released his birth certificate on Sunday night to rebut suggestions that he was not eligible to run for president. 


The Constitution says only “natural born” American citizens can serve as president, a label that includes those born overseas to American parents.

The Dallas Morning News on Monday reported that Cruz’s birthplace also made him an automatic citizen of Canada and that he had never renounced that citizenship. The Constitution does not address if dual citizens can be president.

Late Monday, Cruz said he would renounce his Canadian citizenship. 

“Nothing against Canada, but I’m an American by birth and as a U.S. senator; I believe I should be only an American,” he said in a statement. 

In his interview with CNN, Cruz said the U.S. has “always been my home.”

“When I was a kid, my mom always told me that if I wanted to, I could affirmatively choose to claim Canadian citizenship,” he continued. “But I got a U.S. passport when I was in high school. I never did anything to claim citizenship, and I thought that was the end of the matter.”

Cruz also explained his decision to renounce his Canadian citizenship. 

“Serving as a U.S. senator — I was an American by birth, and serving as a U.S. senator, I think it's appropriate I be only an American,” said Cruz.

But the Texas senator also said he will defer to legal experts on his eligibility for the nation’s highest office. 

“The Constitution has its requirements. What I've said on this issue: I'll lay out the facts, where I was born and who my parents are, and I'll leave it to others to worry about it,” he said at a news conference on Tuesday.

"I'm not going to speculate about legal consequences," said Cruz.