(CNN) – Sen. Ted Cruz cracked a joke about the recent stir over his place of birth on Thursday, just days after pledging to renounce his Canadian citizenship.
"I promise that while y'all are out I'll try not to give any like really juicy piece of crazy news," Cruz told reporters as they were exiting an event where he was about to speak in a private session, according to theHouston Chronicle. "I am secretly a citizen of Ethiopia."
He gave no indication of his fluency level in Amharic.
The Texas Republican, who was born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father, released his birth certificate to The Dallas Morning News last week as questions began simmering over whether he would be eligible to run for president.
Legal experts weighed in, saying he would likely qualify as a "natural-born citizen" of the U.S.–a requirement for the White House job–but also pointed out he may still be a citizen from Canada.
Cruz vowed to renounce his Canadian citizenship, saying in an interview with CNN that as a U.S. senator "it's appropriate I be only an American." The newfound attention to his origins is merely evidence of the "silly season in politics," he told CNN's Candy Crowley.
President Barack Obama also used humor at times when addressing the so-called birther movement.
In October 2012, about a week before Election Day, Obama argued GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney raised fees on a number of items when he was governor of Massachusetts.
"He raised fees to get a birth certificate," Obama continued, "which would have been expensive for me."
For years, Obama faced critics who were convinced the president was not born in the United States and therefor ineligible for the White House. He put the rumors to rest in 2011 when he released his long-form birth certificate.
A month earlier at a Florida campaign stop, the president ran into a woman and her then-six-year-old son, who was born in Hawaii.
"You were born in Hawaii?" he asked the child, then pointed at him. "Do you have a birth certificate?"
"Now, I know that he's taken some flak lately but no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than the Donald," he said. "And that's because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter, like, 'Did we fake the moon landing?' 'What really happened on Roswell?' And "Where are Biggie and Tupac?"
The president also played his "birth video" for the audience, which turned out to be the opening scene from the "Lion King" when Simba is unveiled as the next king.
– CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.