Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainKelly takes under-the-radar approach in Arizona Senate race Voting rights, Trump's Big Lie, and Republicans' problem with minorities Sinema, Manchin curb Biden's agenda MORE (R-Ariz.) on Monday defended his previous comments raising questions about Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGolden State Warriors owner says 'nobody cares' about Uyghurs All hostages free, safe after hours-long standoff at Texas synagogue: governor Overnight Energy & Environment — Lummis holds up Biden EPA picks MORE's (R-Texas) eligibility to run for president, saying it needs to be examined.
"I assume he's eligible but all of these things need to be looked at," McCain told reporters, adding that Cruz wouldn't necessarily need to go to court but "could consult some respected constitutional scholars."
McCain caught attention earlier this month after telling the "Chris Merrill Show" that he didn't think it was "illegitimate to look into" Cruz's eligibility. He then added that during a separate interview with the "Michael Medved Show" that he "would assume" Cruz, who was born in Canada, was eligible.
The Arizona Republican suggested on Monday that his previous comments had been blown out of proportion, telling reporters, "All I said was it ought to be looked at, and then all the sudden kaboom."
McCain's comments have earned him pushback from Cruz. The Texas Republican suggested that he's trying to help Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Djokovic may not compete in French Open over vaccine requirement Florida looms large in Republican 2024 primary How a nice-guy South Dakota senator fell into a Trump storm MORE (R-Fla.), who is also running for president and who Cruz predicted McCain will endorse.
The Arizona senator however rejected that, saying, "I am endorsing no one," before adding, "You always consider your options, but I certainly not considering Marco Rubio at this point or anyone—anyone at this point."
Cruz's eligibility to run for president has been under the media spotlight since Donald TrumpDonald TrumpSanders calls out Manchin, Sinema ahead of filibuster showdown Laura Ingraham 'not saying' if she'd support Trump in 2024 The Hill's 12:30 Report: Djokovic may not compete in French Open over vaccine requirement MORE, the front-runner for the Republican nomination, suggested that he should go to court to settle the matter.
Cruz, however, has defended his status, telling CNN's "State of the Union" that "as a legal matter, the Constitution and federal law are clear that the child of a U.S. citizen is a natural born citizen.”
McCain, who was the Republican presidential nominee in 2008, was born in the Panama Canal Zone. While the Senate previously passed a resolution confirming McCain's eligibility to run for president, Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats make voting rights push ahead of Senate consideration Hogan won't say if he will file to run for Senate by Feb. 22 deadline Voting rights, Trump's Big Lie, and Republicans' problem with minorities MORE (R-Ky.) said the same won't be done for Cruz in an effort to keep the upper chamber out of the 2016 presidential battle.