The senator accused Donald Trump of planting a National Enquirer sex scandal story. If that’s true, Trump wasn’t the only Cruz opponent trying to traffic in smears.
If you enjoy daydreaming about Ted Cruz’s sex life, then today is your lucky day.
The National Enquirer alleged on March 23 that the senator has had five extramarital affairs. And the descriptions it provided of the women—along with barely-pixelated headshots of them—left little to D.C. insiders’ imaginations as to who the Enquirer had accused of being Cruz paramours.
“A HOOKER, A TEACHER & COWORKERS: 5 romps that will destroy Ted Cruz!” the Enquirer piece boldly claims, in an article that includes a wild “sex-in-closet” allegation.
Cruz fired back on Friday, charging that the piece was baseless and that the Enquirer was taking its marching orders straight from “Donald Trump and his henchmen.”
The truth behind the rumor-mongering, however, is a little more complex. A half-dozen GOP operatives and media figures tell The Daily Beast that Cruz’s opponents have been pushing charges of adultery for at least six months now—and that allies of former GOP presidential hopeful Marco Rubio were involved in spreading the smears.
For months and months, anti-Cruz operatives have pitched a variety of #CruzSexScandal stories to a host of prominent national publications, according to Republican operatives and media figures. The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bloomberg News, Politico, and ABC News—reporters at all those outlets heard some version of the Cruz-is-cheating story. None of them decided to run with rumors. Those publications’ representatives all declined to provide on-the-record comments when The Daily Beast reached out for this article.
Breitbart News, the notoriously Trump-friendly conservative outlet, was also pitched the story of Cruz’s extramarital affairs, according to a source close to the publication. That source said an operative allied with Marco Rubio—but not associated with his official campaign—showed the publication a compilation video of Cruz and a woman other than his wife coming out of the Capitol Grille restaurant and a hotel on Tuesdays and Thursdays. But the outlet opted not to report on the video, which demonstrated no direct evidence of an affair.
“We got it from a Rubio ally,” said the source. “It was too thin, so [Breitbart’s Washington political editor Matt Boyle] decided not to run it. There was no way to verify the claims.”
A Rubio spokesman wasn’t immediately available for comment.
The Cruz campaign team has been aware of the sex-scandal rumors for months. But it took the National Enquirer’s report to force the story into the mainstream media conversation.
Friday afternoon, Trump disavowed any connection to the Enquirer’s story—while giving their credibility a backhanded boost.
“I have no idea whether or not the cover story about Ted Cruz in this week’s issue of theNational Enquirer is true or not, but I had absolutely nothing to do with it, did not know about it, and have not, as yet, read it,” he said in a statement.
He then proceeded to praise the publication.
“Ted Cruz’s problem with the National Enquirer is his and his alone, and while they were right about O.J. Simpson, John Edwards, and many others, I certainly hope they are not right about Lyin’ Ted Cruz,” he said.
SOURCE: ASAWIN SUEBSAENG and BETSY WOODRUFF
The Daily Mail