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by Sharon Rondeau

Photo from the State of Maine’s website

(Mar. 5, 2016) — In a speech given on Saturday night in Florida following the day’s Republican caucuses in four states, presidential candidate Donald Trump thanked Kentucky and Louisiana for his victories there and congratulated his closest primary contender, Sen. Ted Cruz, for winning the Maine and Kansas caucuses.

“He should do well in Maine because it’s very close to Canada,” Trump said, referring to Cruz’s birth in Calgary, Alberta on December 22, 1970.  Despite his foreign birth, Cruz claims that he is a “natural born Citizen” as is required of the president and commander-in-chief by Article II, Section 1, clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution.

Trump has openly questioned Cruz’s eligibility since 2014 and hinted more recently that he might file a lawsuit to have the matter adjudicated.  In recent weeks, ballot challenges and lawsuits filed by citizens have claimed that both Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio, another Republican presidential candidate, are ineligible to serve.

Cruz’s father was a Cuban citizen, while his mother was a U.S. citizen born in Delaware.  There is speculation that, like her husband, Eleanor Darragh Wilson Cruz became a Canadian citizen at some point, although Cruz has denied it.

Rubio was born in Florida in 1971 to parents who were not U.S. citizens at the time, naturalizing approximately four years later.

Trump was born in New York City on June 14, 1946 to two U.S.-citizen parents. His mother, who hailed from Scotland, naturalized in 1942.

Trump reminded his audience that his campaign is self-funded and stated that “the establishment” therefore cannot control him.

For a majority of the day, Fox News anchors repeatedly ruminated over Trump’s decision to skip the CPAC conference, where he had been scheduled to speak amidst an organized “walk-out.”   CPAC organizer Matt Schlapp told Neil Cavuto that Trump should have attended if he expected “conservatives” to vote for him.

Last week, Maine’s governor, Republican Paul LePage, endorsed Trump as a “natural born Citizen” while claiming that Cruz does not qualify.  On Howie Carr’s radio show, LePage disclosed that his two daughters were born in Canada, had to be “naturalized” as U.S. citizens, and cannot run for president, according to research he said he has performed.

During his speech, Trump said that as many as five U.S. Supreme Court judges could be appointed during the next president’s term and urged the audience to “start thinking about it.”

At the beginning and later in his address, Trump called for Rubio to “get out of the race” as a result of Rubio’s third- or fourth-place finish in Saturday’s Louisiana primary and the three caucuses in the other states.

Trump received second place in both Maine and Kansas, the states which Cruz won.  He referred to Kentucky and Louisiana as “the big ones” of the day.  “I want Ted one-on-one,” Trump said of future contests leading to the Republican nomination at the convention in July.

Trump took questions from the press after approximately 20 minutes.

The total delegate count for each candidate was not immediately available.

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