Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015, in Mesa, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015, in Mesa, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Even though he chickened out of Thursday’s debate, Donald Trump still cannot keep his mouth shut about his rivals. This especially applies to Ted Cruz, who presents the biggest threat to him on the eve of the Iowa caucuses. In a New Hampshire appearance, he kept up with his ignorant attacks on Ted Cruz’s citizenship status and eligibility to run for President. He told a crowd in Nashua:

“Now, Ted Cruz may not be a U.S. citizen. Right? But he’s an anchor baby in Canada. No, he’s an anchor baby. Ted Cruz is an anchor baby in Canada,” Trump said today at his event in Nashua, New Hampshire.

He also said the Texas senator got “pummeled last night” at the GOP presidential debate.

“They didn’t even mention he was born in Canada,” Trump lamented.

The first thought that comes to mind is that Trump keeps coming back to this attack against Cruz for a couple of reasons. The first is that he cannot make attacks on Cruz’s record of standing up for conservative principles the centerpiece of his strategy because that leaves him open to greater scrutiny of his own liberal record. Secondly, given his focus on talking about stopping illegal immigration, I have to think the fact that he’s trying to un-Americanize Cruz to his audiences. He is desperate to hold off Ted Cruz in Iowa, so he is resorting to the citizenship issue because he has nothing else to go on.

But let’s get to the argument, or should I say insult, Trump uses here by calling Ted Cruz an “anchor baby”. Not that it matters to his devoted supporters, but the assertion doesn’t hold up. If his parents were seriously interested in using young Ted Cruz as an anchor baby to stay in Canada, then they wouldn’t have moved back to the United States when he was four years old. Don’t you think they would have stayed in Canada if that was really the case? Ted Cruz is about as much of a Texan as a person can be without actually being born there.

I think there’s also a subtle dig at the fact that Rafael Cruz is a Cuban refugee who became a naturalized US citizen. It never fails to aggravate me when people try to treat the situation with Cuba the same as our situation with the other countries that border us. Our policy of leniency toward Cuban migrants and refugees is an entirely legitimate anti-communist and anti-Castro* measure and is vastly different from those who try to enter this country illegally elsewhere. Opposing communism used to matter to the kind of people Trump is courting, but I suppose nativism trumps even that.

As I said before, I think Trump keeps coming back to citizenship issue because it is the only way he can attack Ted Cruz without drawing attention to his own miserable record.** Whoever your “guy” (and I haven’t endorsed anyone myself) is in the primaries, Ted Cruz is Constitutionally eligible for President. You cannot talk about wanting to protect the Constitution and make the sort of argument Trump is. This is all about trying to secure a victory over Cruz in Iowa–and then elsewhere.

*=Not that the Obama administration really cares about this any more.

**=And let’s not forget that Trump’s mother was an immigrant from Scotland. If the Donald wants to make flimsy, poorly thought out cases against Cruz based on this issue, then we could basically do the same against him.