Cruz Blasts Trump for National Enquirer Hit Piece
Trump is friends with National Inquirer CEO David Pecker, and the only person quoted by name in the article is longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone.
Ted Cruz is blasting as “completely false” a story in the National Enquirer alleging the GOP candidate has had a string of sexual affairs. Two women said to be involved have already denied the story, including Donald Trump’s own spokeswoman.
The Enquirer did not name the women, merely picturing the five with blurred images, a bar across their face and vague descriptions. However, two that have been publicly identified have spoken out: Katrina Pierson and Amanda Carpenter.
Pierson, Trump’s own campaign spokeswoman who once worked for Cruz, was accused of having a dalliance with the Texas senator. As Ben Shapiro noted at The Daily Wire, Pierson — as a Trump campaign loyalist — would have a strong motivation to confirm the story. Instead, she wrote on Twitter:
Of course the National Enquirer story is 100% FALSE!!! I only speak to myself, however.
— Katrina Pierson (@KatrinaPierson) March 25, 2016
Carpenter, Cruz’s former communications director, was similarly dismissive of the story. When Trump surrogate Adriana Cohen parroted the accusation on CNN, Carpenter responded:
What’s out there is tabloid trash. If someone wants to comment on it, they can talk to my lawyer. It is categorically false. You should be ashamed for spreading this kind of smut. Donald Trump supporters should be held to account for it, and I will not be intimidated. I will continue to make my thoughts known about Donald Trump, and I am not backing down.
Here’s the exchange:
The Daily Wire reports that sources told them that Carpenter has hired a lawyer and is considering a lawsuit.
In his statement, Cruz laid blame for the hit piece at the feet of Trump:
I want to be crystal clear: these attacks are garbage. For Donald J. Trump to enlist his friends at the National Enquirer and his political henchmen to do his bidding shows you that there is no low Donald won’t go.
These smears are completely false, they’re offensive to Heidi and me, they’re offensive to our daughters, and they’re offensive to everyone Donald continues to personally attack.
Donald Trump’s consistently disgraceful behavior is beneath the office we are seeking and we are not going to follow.
Is Trump responsible? The Daily Wire notes that the only person in the National Enquirer story quoted by name is Roger Stone, a longtime Trump adviser with a long history on the lurid side of politics. Trump also has a long, friendly history with National Enquirer CEO David Pecker and has been formally endorsed by the tabloid.
It is also not the first time the Trump campaign has allegedly planted a story there against a rival. In an expose called “Donald Trump’s Alliance With the National Enquirer,” Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine reported that Trump’s campaign had planted information with the tabloid that Dr. Ben Carson had botched surgeries:
This person also said that Trump’s campaign was a source for the article: “His campaign provided information that was used,” he explained. A Trump friend said that in the days leading up to the article’s publication Trump was telling people that Carson “had a lot of medical malpractice suits” and “almost killed a guy.”
Parker says Trump’s close friendship with Parker “has paid dividends,” writing that “at key moments during the GOP primary the Enquirer has helped boost Trump’s campaign by attacking his rivals.” For example, shortly after Trump entered the race, the tabloid accused Jeb Bush of “sleazy cheating scandals.”
Trump denied he’s behind the Cruz story, and then punched back. “They were right about O.J. Simpson, John Edwards and others,” he said, “I certainly hope they are not right about Lyin’ Ted Cruz.” Trump neglected to mention the many times the tabloid’s accusations have amounted to nothing.
Hot Air’s Allahpundit also reports that other political enemies of Cruz may have tried to shop the affair story to more respectable news outlets earlier in the campaign, and none of them bit:
Why didn’t any big media outlets push the story? They must have investigated. A sex scandal involving the man endorsed by many of America’s most prominent evangelical leaders likely would have detonated Cruz’s campaign on impact. Some conservatives, ever suspicious of the media’s motives, will probably argue that they’re holding off on publishing what they’ve found until after Cruz clinches the nomination, ensuring an easy victory for Hillary in November. I don’t know. The media CW lately is that no one but no one would fare more poorly in the general election than Trump. If he’s a pushover for Clinton then the media should be looking to kill Cruz now, to eliminate any chance of him beating Trump at the convention. And big media’s motives don’t explain why Breitbart, which is famously pro-Trump and anti-Rubio, would have sat on the rumors too. The simplest explanation may be the correct one: There’s just not enough beyond mere rumor to substantiate an accusation, which is why the story had to be farmed out to the National “Scalia Assassinated By A Mexican CIA-Backed Hooker” Enquirer.
Even Trump supporting national radio host Michael Savage is, well, savaging the Enquirer hit piece. “Savage said today on his radio show that the National Enquirer story smearing Ted Cruz is completely false, and he knows this based on a source he says he would trust with his life,” The Right Scoop reports. “Savage points out that Cruz is rightly offended over this utter garbage.”
Savage went still further, insisting that “while he doesn’t blame Trump for the story, he threatens to withdraw his support of Trump if he doesn’t completely disavow the story and the man who owns the National Enquirer, David Pecker.” The Right Scoop has more, and the Michael Savage clip, here.
All of this comes against the backdrop of Trump attacking Cruz‘s wife, Heidi, following an ad from an anti-Trump SuperPAC featuring a nude Melania Trump from a GQ Magazine shoot.
And now this morning, at the start of a Wisconsin town hall, Cruz brought his wife up on stage. “I think Heidi is the most beautiful, brilliant, amazing, fantastic, loving mom, incredible wife, and she’s my best friend,” he said. “And I love you with all my heart.”