I want you to watch two video clips, one from 2012 and one from 2016. They are both of the same person (Wolf Blitzer) interviewing the same subject (Donald Trump). They both concern the issue of whether a given person was eligible to be the President because of questions about whether they were a “Natural Born Citizen.”
However, in the first clip, Wolf Blitzer is interviewing Donald Trump about whether Obama is a “Natural Born Citizen.” In the second clip, he’s interviewing Donald Trump about whether Ted Cruz is a “Natural Born Citizen.” See if you can spot any differences in the tone and attitude Wolf Blitzer displays towards Trump in these clips.
See, back in 2012, when Donald Trump was questioning the constitutional eligibility of the President, he was questioning the constitutional eligibility of a Democrat. So of course, CNN flat out ambushed him by asking him to come on and talk about China, and instead having Wolf Blitzer treat him like an idiot over his Obama “birther” allegations. Notice the flat out contempt Blitzer displays, yelling at Trump, interrupting him repeatedly, talking over everything he says, and at one point openly calling Trump “ridiculous” to his face:
The interview got so bad as it went on that Blitzer actually resorted to showing Trump a clip of George Will calling him an “ignoramus” and asking, basically, whether he agreed that he was an ignoramus or not. I have to hand it to Trump, if it was me, I would have walked out of the interview at this point:
Now notice how Wolf Blitzer treats Trump when he is asking Trump about whether a REPUBLICAN is constitutionally ineligible to be President: calm. Collected. Respectful. Like he’s getting to the bottom of an interesting and legitimate historical question. Allowing Trump to finish all his answers. Asking polite follow up questions that are designed to make Trump’s point look more credible and widely held.
In a very explicit way, the emergence of the Ted Cruz “Birther” question shows once again the open bias that the media has towards conservatives, and towards any Republican candidate for office.
It is curious, from a legal standpoint, that Cruz’s eligibility is being questioned at all. His mother was born in Delaware and his father in Cuba. His father fled Cuba at age 18 and immigrated to the United States, specifically, Texas. Cruz was born in Calgary, Canada in 1970 while his father worked abroad in the oil industry, and his family moved back to the United States when he was four.
The United States Constitution requires a president to be at least 35 years of age (check), a resident of the country for 14 years (check), and a “natural born citizen” (check).
Clearly, Ted Cruz was not born in the United States, but that isn’t what the term “natural born citizen” means. As Harvard Law Review explains, “natural born citizen” as referenced in the US Constitution was originally adopted from British common law, which “recognized that children born outside of the British Empire to subjects of the Crown were subjects themselves and explicitly used ‘natural born’ to encompass such children.” So the term by this definition simply means “someone who was a US citizen at birth with no need to go through a naturalization proceeding at some other time.”
If that wasn’t clear enough, the First Congress of the United States established the Naturalization Act of 1790, which further clarifies the matter:
“And the children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond Sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born Citizens: Provided, that the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States.”
His mother was a citizen. His father was a resident. Ted Cruz is clearly a natural born citizen under the undisputed facts.
Further, Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution clearly gives Congress the power to “establish a uniform rule of Naturalization,” so any claim that Congress exceeded their authority by enacting this into law has no merit.
Here’s how open and shut this case is. Even Mark Levin, who has been borderline in the tank for Trump this entire campaign season, calls this attack stupid and pointless. He writes:
“First, it is a settled constitutional and statutory matter. It was settled when Trump said it was settled in September and it was settled when Trump flip-flopped and said it was an issue a few days ago. Cruz's mother is an American citizen, was an American citizen when she gave birth to Cruz, and is, in fact, Cruz's mother. Seems fairly simple. Not only that, American citizens give birth to American citizens, whether here or abroad. That's not only common sense, it is the law. And think about it for a moment -- if you follow their stupid argument, babies born of American citizens serving abroad in our military would be non-naturalized citizens ineligible to run for president. That's stupid.”
In comparison, it is particularly interesting to note that Ted Cruz’s citizenship is on the same ground as Senator John McCain’s, whose parents were US citizens living abroad in the Canal Zone when McCain was born. During his presidential bid in 2008, not only was Senator McCain’s citizenship uncontested by his opponents and the media at large, but his then-opponents Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama actually co-sponsored a resolution unanimously passed in the Senate declaring him a natural born citizen and eligible to be President. No one who mattered gave the thought any credibility, it was shut down, and everyone moved on.
Now enter Ted Cruz. This is the same cut and dry “natural born citizen case.” But this time around with Cruz, a Democratic Representative actually threatens to file a lawsuit challenging his eligibility if he is the Republican nominee. And I haven’t seen anyone denouncing this action. There are serious panel discussions being held on cable news networks debating the merits of the claims against Ted Cruz. Even Donald Trump, who is usually blasted by the media (rightfully so, I might add), is actually treated with a fairly decent amount of respect on this issue, as you saw above.
CNN even had Trump spokesperson Katrina Pierson on the other day to say (with a straight face) that no one questioned this issue with John McCain because he wasn’t ever a serious threat to win the Presidency (as opposed to, you know, Ted Cruz).
What a difference a few years and party affiliation makes.
And if you want to see more on how quickly the tide has turned, watch how Joe Scarborough (one of the most conservative guys in the whole television media, which means he’s a little to the left of Mitch McConnell) bolsters the claim that Cruz may not be eligible, inserting that he “suspects” this is something we’re going to be hearing more about in the next couple weeks. The applicable dialogue begins at the 1:20 mark:
Why would we hear about this more in the next couple of weeks? This isn’t a legitimate claim. What more could anyone possibly have to say about the matter two weeks down the road that isn’t easily debunked?
Can anyone recall Joe Scarborough treating the Obama birthers this way? I sure can’t.
Orly Taitz, the “queen” of the Obama birther conspiracy was never treated with anything but disdain and contempt. It went far beyond a simple disagreement. The woman was treated downright hatefully. She was even brought onto shows for the primary purpose of strong-arming an apology out of her for ever questioning Obama’s citizenship. Lawrence O’Donnell literally yelled at her for it:
So, are we going to ask the same thing of people who have questioned Ted Cruz’s citizenship? We’re going to bring them onto cable news shows just to force them to apologize, or else be subjected to a verbal assault launched against them, right? Because certainly the media would never treat Ted Cruz’s ridiculous citizenship “issue” any differently than they would treat Barack Obama’s ridiculous citizenship issue. Surely they wouldn’t treat one differently than the other.
Here’s Nancy Pelosi this morning weighing in on the matter explaining it will need to be sorted out in a Constitutional way (as if she has ever been concerned with the Constitution before).
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 7, 2016
She does have one thing right, her opinion really does mean nothing.