The Slatest

30 Rock Took a Stand on the Ted Cruz/Canada Eligibility Question in 2011

Jack Donaghy and Avery Jessup on 30 Rock.

Screen shot/YouTube

The question of whether Ted Cruz is ineligible to be president because he was born in Canada is probably a silly one (his mother was American and he’s therefore always been an American citizen), but that has not stopped his fellow Republican candidates from repeatedly bringing the issue up, and in light of that fact I must do the public service of noting that the seminal public-affairs program 30 Rock actually asserted (indirectly) in 2011 that Cruz is not eligible for the presidency. To wit:

As you can see, the episode in question (called “Double-Edged Sword”) involves Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) and his Megyn Kelly-esque wife Avery Jessup (Elizabeth Banks) frantically trying to leave Toronto before she gives birth lest their child be disqualified from becoming president—a possibility the show treats as a legal fact. (In the episode, the child does end up being born in Canada, whereafter Donaghy and Jessup—both ardent Republicans—become angry when they find out that their hospital stay has been paid for by the country’s socialized medical system.)

So, on one hand you’ve got the majority of Constitutional scholars saying that Cruz is eligible. Questioning that consensus: Donald Trump and a 30 Rock joke from five years ago. Naturally, most of the U.S. political establishment has come down on the Trump/30 Rock side of the argument. What a world!