WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — Real estate billionaire and “The Apprentice” host Donald Trump says he’s “seriously” looking at another potential presidential run, saying that President Barack Obama has left the U.S. with “no friends” and that Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, will have a “hurdle” in proving his U.S. citizenship.

Speaking with WNYW-TV on Monday, the reality television host who repeatedly called out Obama to produce his birth certificate has now turned his sights on the Texas Republican’s announcement that he will be seeking the GOP nomination. Trump himself set up an exploratory committee considering his own potential run for president.

“I’m looking at it very seriously, I get the biggest crowds and I get great response. I’ll decide sometime in June,” Trump told WNYW.

“We have to make America great again,” said Trump, adding that he knows Cruz “very well” and likes his use of that phrase in his 2016 campaign announcement.

Cruz was born in Canada to a Cuban father and a mother who was a U.S. citizen – and top Justice Department attorneys and other legal experts have said there is “no question” Cruz is eligible for the presidential office.

But that hasn’t stopped “birther” speculation from creeping into the Cruz campaign conversation.

In 2013, Cruz’s office sought to quash any debate he is a “natural-born citizen,” which the U.S. Constitution requires of presidents. The Tea Party-backed Cruz released his birth certificate and later renounced his Canadian citizenship.

“Well he’s got, you know, a hurdle that nobody else seems to have at this moment,” said Trump. “It’s a hurdle and somebody could certainly look at it very seriously. He was born in Canada … if you know … and when we all studied our history lessons … you’re supposed to be born in this country, so I just don’t know how the courts would rule on it.
“But it’s an additional hurdle that he has that nobody else seems to have.”

Legal experts tell Bloomberg Politics that the debate over Cruz’s presidential eligibility is not credible.

“Despite the happenstance of a birth across the border, there is no question that Senator Cruz has been a citizen from birth and is thus a ‘natural born citizen’ within the meaning of the Constitution,” wrote Neal Katyal and Paul Clement in an article published March 11 in the Harvard Law Review. “There are plenty of serious issues to debate in the upcoming presidential election cycle. The less time spent dealing with specious objections to candidate eligibility, the better.”

Trump brought the “birther” issue to a head in 2011 when he publicly demanded Obama end debate over his citizenship and birthplace by producing his birth certificate for scrutiny.

“I want him to show his birth certificate. I want him to show his birth certificate,” Trump said on “The View” in 2011. “There’s something on that birth certificate that he doesn’t like.”

“I really believe there’s a birth certificate,” Trump said, although conceded he believed Obama was probably born in the U.S. “Why doesn’t he show his birth certificate? And you know what? I wish he would. I think it’s a terrible pale that’s hanging over him.”

And Trump has not let up on his doubts and criticism of Obama’s leadership in the years since.

“He doesn’t get along with Russia. He doesn’t get along with Israel. He doesn’t get along with anyone, and Iran is eating his lunch. He probably gets along with Iran, but they’re eating his lunch. I hope he’s going to make a good deal, it’s going to be vital,” Trump told WNYW.

“Right now we have no friends. You look at Russia, you look at Putin, he hates Obama,” he added. “You look at Bibi, he hates Obama. Israel – everybody – does anybody like Obama other than Iran?”

Benjamin Fearnow


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