We received a press release about this from the National Enquirer a couple of days ago, but frankly have been skeptical of the report’s accuracy about Ted Cruz for all the reasons you could possibly imagine. If you’ve spent any time on Twitter over the past twelve hours, you’ve noticed the #CruzSexScandal hashtag, which has scored over 401,000 uses so far. The tag refers to the Enquirer‘s freshly printed and potentially campaign-ending story about Cruz. The tabloid claims that Cruz has been leading a double life. That is, he only pretends to be a perfect Conservative Christian who’s faithful to his wife, Heidi. Meanwhile, he’s allegedly enjoyed extramarital sex romps with at least five women.
Naturally, the internet jumped all over this mess because everyone loves a good Ted Cruz slam story. And it’s all fun and games when folks throw around Zodiac Killer and Stryper conspiracies, but this is a story involving serious allegations. This scandal could not only destroy a political career, but could rip a family apart. Perhaps Ted’s an insufferable person, but he doesn’t deserve a made-up story that would effectively ruin his life. Nor do his wife and two children need this pain. Sure, the Cruzes put themselves in the public eye, but the National Enquirer may have motives here other than simply unearthing a scandal. Let’s dig into what we know about this story.
Exhibit #1: The Enquirer‘s Cruz Allegations
The tabloid’s claims revolve around “pervy Ted” and his alleged philandering. The print version features a lineup of five women who allegedly slept with Cruz, as revealed by some trusty private investigators’ diggings. One of these women, according to the Enquirer, may be a prostitute while one is a teacher and three have worked with Cruz on various campaigns. Their faces have been blurred for privacy purposes, and here’s a screencap.
Unfortunately for the women, the internet quickly unearthed a few of their identities. One woman, Amanda Carpenter, has strenuously denied any sexual involvement with Cruz. She’s also been very critical of Donald Trump’s repeated Heidi attacks. Before Carpenter’s name was drawn into the mix, she tweeted this: “First Carly, then Megyn, now Heidi Cruz. Anyone else see a pattern? Three times isn’t a mistake. It’s a trend.”
The leftmost woman in the lineup has been revealed as Katrina Pierson. Cable news junkies will recognize her as Trump’s official campaign spokesperson. J.K. Rowling once called Pierson a “death eater” because her statements align so closely with her boss. Interestingly enough, Pierson once worked for Cruz himself. So, they know each other, but her presence on this list feels misplaced. If Cruz’s main rival (Trump, obv) engineered this story with planted sources, why would he throw his great defender under the bus? On Friday morning, Pierson officially responded by describing allegations of her involvement as “false.”
Exhibit #2: Donald Trump’s Ties To The Enquirer
Any self-respecting political candidate would balk at being involved with a publication of rumors. But if we’ve learned anything about Trump’s rise, it’s how the rules do not apply to his teflon nature. In fact, everything that shouldn’t work in his favor ends up miraculously catapulting him higher into the stratosphere. So, consider how Trump managed to score the not-so-coveted official Enquirer endorsement with a title that screams, “Trump Must Be President.”
There are several reasons for the Enquirer‘s apparent butt kissing. First, Trump can move copy off the newsstand. Second, his flashy presence and history as a reality-star makes him a prime star for the tabloid’s practices. Third, some deeper digging reveals Trump’s long-running alliance with the tabloid. On several occasions, Trump has tossed Twitter praise at David Pecker, the CEO of the Enquirer‘s publisher, American Media, Inc.
In addition, the tabloid has ignored all of the Trump scandals that have saturated the mainstream media. You won’t find them publishing stories of violent rallies or Hitler comparisons, and not a drop of criticism is aimed towards Trump’s controversial words. Instead, you’ll only see flattering coverage of Trump’s lavish lifestyle and what he wants to bring to the White House. This is also the same rag that attacks Trump rivals with titles like this: “Bungling Surgeon Ben Carson Left Sponge In Patient’s Brain!” That article spoke of how Carson’s campaign should be “dead on arrival.” The Enquirer tracked down several of the former neurosurgeon’s reported patients who spoke about paralysis and nerve injury that they suffered after his surgeries. NY Mag also tracked down someone in the know:
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.”
So, only positive Trump stories land in the Enquirer, whereas his rivals get roasted.
Exhibit #3: The Great John Edwards Scandal Of 2007
In 2007, the Enquirer effectively crushed John Edwards’ chances at securing the Democratic presidential nomination when they published allegations of his extramarital affair with campaign worker Rielle Hunter. Later speculation included a lovechild, and Edwards denied all allegations until years later when he finally admitted to fathering the child. Before the truth surfaced, Edwards’ chances at securing any sort of administration position were long gone. Granted, Edwards’ actions seemed particularly brutal in light of his wife’s ongoing bouts with cancer, but this illustrates how one carefully executed tabloid tale can carry long-term ramifications.
In Cruz’s case, he’s up against a story about five different woman and a well-documented case of his wife’s depression. Take those two elements together, and Cruz could look like a cad. The tabloid established some cred with the Edwards story, which proves they can take down a candidate with ease, but did Ted Cruz really have five extramarital affairs?
Cruz Finally Responds To The Enquirer‘s Story
For days, the Cruz camp did not dignify the Enquirer‘s claims with either an acknowledgment or a denial. Well, he just posted a response on Facebook:
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.
After Cruz spoke his mind, Trump followed up with a statement of his own:
“I have nothing to do with the National Enquirer and unlike Lyin’ Ted Cruz I do not surround myself with political hacks and henchman [sic] and then pretend total innocence.”
This rivalry is not going away anytime soon, folks, but there you have it. Despite being friends with David Pecker and receiving across-the-board favorable coverage from the publication, Trump says he’s got nothing to do with the Enquirer.