Washington (EFE) – U.S. Republican pre-candidate for the 2016 presidential race Donald Trump said Tuesday rival Ted Cruz’s Canadian birth was “precarious” for the Republican party and would make the Texas senator vulnerable if he received the party’s nomination for president.

“Republicans are going to have to ask themselves the question: ‘Do we want a candidate who could be tied up in court for two years?’ That’d be a big problem,” said Trump in an interview with The Washington Post before a rally in Massachusetts.

Ted Cruz, who has emerged as the closest rival to Trump, was born in Calgary, Canada, to a Cuban father and an American mother.

The U.S. Constitution stipulates that to be elected president one must be a natural born citizen, a clause that can be interpreted to include all American citizens regardless of where they were born.

This means Cruz is eligible to run for president because he is a U.S. citizen at birth having been born to an American mother even though he was born in Canada.

Trump has stepped up criticism against Cruz and had called his competitor’s Canadian birth an “obstacle” in March 2015 even before launching his campaign.

“(…) a lot of people are talking about it and I know that even some states are looking at it very strongly, the fact that he was born in Canada and he has had a double passport,” Trump said.

Cruz had officially renounced his Canadian citizenship in June 2014 to dispel any doubts regarding his eligibility to run for president.

Meanwhile, Cruz responded to Trump’s remarks by posting a video of the TV show Happy Days on Twitter in which the character Fonzie jumps over a shark while on water skis, from which the phrase “jump the shark” was coined, often used as a shorthand to describe a desperate bid to attract public attention.

Trump and Cruz had exhibited great camaraderie early on in their campaigns but mutual jabs have been on the rise as the primaries draw closer.

Polls indicate Cruz could surpass Trump in the February Iowa caucuses, which will begin the series of primaries.

(c) 2016 EFE News Services (U.S.) Inc.

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