In a jocular moment with reporters on Thursday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said that he is actually neither a citizen of the U.S. or his native Canada, but rather a scion of "Ethiopia." According to USA Today, made the tepid quip as reporters were being ushered away from his presence alongside tech company executives at a conference in Austin.
"I promise that while y'all are out I'll try not to give any like really juicy piece of crazy news," said Cruz, as quoted by Austin-based reporter Peggy Fikac, who writes for the San Antonio Express-News and Houston Chronicle.
Then, he said, "I'm secretly a citizen of Ethiopia."
The joke referred to Cruz's announcement earlier this week that he is renouncing his Canadian citizenship. The Dallas Morning News published Cruz's Calgary birth certificate, prompting the Senator to say, "Assuming that is true, then sure, I will renounce any Canadian citizenship. Nothing against Canada, but I’m an American by birth and as a U.S. Senator, I believe I should be only an American.”
The Morning News speculated that questions of dual citizenship could dog Cruz if he attempts to run for president in 2016.
Cruz's odd sense of humor and an air of "creepiness" are things that college friends of the Senator remember from his days at Princeton University, according to a profile in The Daily Beast.
"[S]everal fellow classmates who asked that their names not be used described the young Cruz with words like 'abrasive,' 'intense,' 'strident,' 'crank,' and 'arrogant.'" wrote Daily Beast reporter Patricia Murphy. "Four independently offered the word 'creepy,' with some pointing to Cruz’s habit of donning a paisley bathrobe and walking to the opposite end of their dorm’s hallway where the female students lived."
“I would end up fielding the [girls’] complaints: 'Could you please keep your roommate out of our hallway?'" one former roommate told Murphy.
[image of Ted Cruz via Gage Skidmore's Flickr Photostream, Creative Commons licensed]