Ted Cruz is getting some assistance in combating the latest assault of birtherism from Donald Trump, from an unlikely corner: The 2012 Republican nominee for president, Mitt Romney, whom Cruz has previously ridiculed for being a weak and too moderate candidate. And just to show that he can be with it, the former GOP standard-bearer even threw in a Jedi mind-trick.
.@tedcruz is a “natural born citizen.” Obama too. Even George Romney. This isn’t the issue you’re looking for.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) January 8, 2016
There are a few problems here with Mitt’s attempted pop-culture reference: First of all, among the three people named in that tweet, Ted Cruz and Mitt’s father George Romney were born outside the United States — while President Obama was in fact born in America, despite the conspiracy theories that have been spun over the years.
But also, in that famous scene from the original Star Wars, those were the droids that the Stormtroopers were looking for.
And while it might be nice to see Romney come out in support of the facts, it’s a little late. Back in the 2012 election season Romney gladly campaigned alongside none other than Donald Trump — and even refused to condemn Trump’s conspiracy-mongering about President Obama’s birthplace and citizenship.
And then during the general election campaign, during a stop in his original native state of Michigan, Romney himself got in on the act of making a birther joke against the president.
“Now I love being home in this place, where Ann and I were raised — where both of us were born. Ann was born at Henry Ford Hospital, I was born at Harper Hospital,” Mitt told the crowd, which then proceeded to roar with laughter and applause as he delivered the punchline: “No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate — they know that this is the place that we were born and raised!”
“The governor has always said, and has repeatedly said, he believes the president was born here in the United States,” a Romney adviser said. “He was only referencing that Michigan, where he is campaigning today, is the state where he himself was born and raised.”
But that November, Obama defeated Romney in the state of Michigan, 54 percent to 45 percent.
All of this brings us to the real irony here: After years of paranoia and barely-veiled racist barbs getting thrown at Barack Obama over his life story — casting him as an un-American outsider — the target for this kind of persecution is now a champion for the hardline right.