Donald Trump’s birther attacks on Ted Cruz aren’t an act of desperation but they’re definitely proof that Trump’s a liberal who is out of his element when it comes to substantive issues. Early in the debate, Sen. Cruz was asked about Trump’s attacks on whether Sen. Cruz was eligible to run for president. Predictably, Sen. Cruz had an answer for Mr. Trump that stung Mr. Trump, then exposed Mr. Trump.
Sen. Cruz needled Mr. Trump, saying “You know, back in September my friend Donald said that he had his lawyers look at this from every which way. And there was no issue there. There was nothing there to this birther issue. Now, since September, the Constitution hasn’t changed. But the poll numbers have. And I recognize that Donald is dismayed that his poll numbers are falling in Iowa.” When Fox Business moderator Neil Cavuto asked Trump why he just started bringing up the subject recently, Trump said it was because Sen. Cruz was doing better in the polls. Here’s how Mr. Trump responded:
I already know the Democrats are going to be bringing a suit. You have a big lawsuit over your head while you’re running. And if you become the nominee, who the hell knows if you can even serve in office?
There’s no way that Mr. Trump is stupid enough to think this is even a minor problem. In 2008, John McCain was the Republicans’ nominee. Sen. McCain was born in Panama because his father was serving in the military in Panama. Democrats didn’t file a lawsuit, mostly because they knew it wouldn’t succeed.
After that back-and-forth, Mr. Trump made a major mistake. The mistake was citing Laurence Tribe as a respected constitutional scholar. Sen. Cruz moved in for the kill, saying “I have spent my entire life defending the U.S. Constitution before the U.S. Supreme Court. And I’ll tell you, I’m not going to be taking legal advice from Donald Trump. … The chances of any litigation proceeding or succeeding on this are zero.”
Sen. Cruz stated, correctly, that Tribe was part of the team of liberal lawyers that represented Al Gore in the Florida recount case before the Supreme Court in 2000. The only thing Sen. Cruz did wrong was he didn’t tout his record in front of the Supreme Court. Sen. Cruz is a legitimate constitutional scholar. Tribe isn’t. The fact that Trump thinks highly of Prof. Tribe speaks volumes about the type of justices he’d appoint. It’s a frightening thought to think he’s appoint liberals like Tribe to the Supreme Court.
Mr. Trump has a lengthy history of believing birther conspiracies. While there’s no disputing the fact that he’s a rich man, there’s no disputing the fact that Trump the rich man is more than a little unhinged when it comes to conspiracy theories. Hint: that’s the politically correct way of saying Mr. Trump is more than a little eccentric.