Texas senator Ted Cruz has one thing going for his 2016 presidential bid — he has a president in his family tree. The irony? That president is his nemesis across the political aisle, President Barack Obama!
Cruz’s veins may run red, while Obama is as cool as blue, but they could have both attended the huge family reunion held by writer A.J. Jacobs. The Esquire magazine editor is trying to create a family tree of the entire world. While he was digging into his roots, he discovered that Obama has 44 cousins in the Senate — including Cruz, who is married to Heidi Nelson, Obama’s 14th cousin once removed.
That’s not all — Obama can call his 2008 election opponent John McCain his 11th cousin, twice removed. North Carolina senator Kay Hagan is his 15th cousin, while Rand Paul is his fifth cousin five times removed’s husband’s third cousin five times removed (got that?).
Cruz was born December 22, 1970, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, to Eleanor Elizabeth Darragh Wilson and Rafael Bienvenido Cruz. His mother was raised in Delaware, while his father was born in Cuba but left for Texas as a teenager. Ted Cruz grew up in Katy, Texas, and attended Princeton University (incidentally, the alma mater of Obama’s wife, Michelle).
Though they are on opposite sides of the political spectrum, Cruz and Obama share one thing in common: They have both had to contend with “birthers” who questioned their presidential eligibility. Obama faced conspiracy theorists who doubted that he was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. Meanwhile, Cruz has always been upfront about his birth in Canada but firmly believes he meets the requirements to become president as laid out by the Constitution.
No word on whether Cruz and Obama got together to laugh about their shared troubles at Jacobs’ massive family reunion. But maybe that’s for the best. If there’s anything worse than a family feud, it’s a political one.
How many famous cousins do you have — in or outside the Senate? Ancestry can help you find out. Discover your family story with a free trial from Ancestry.
— Kelly Woo