For some inexplicable reason that only Donald Trump knows, the Republican presidential nominee, in a post-acceptance speech press conference, again stirred up the unsubstantiated rumor from the National Enquirer that Senator Ted Cruz’s father was somehow linked to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
“I know nothing about his father, I know nothing about Lee Harvey Oswald,” said Trump. “But there was a picture on the front page of the National Enquirer which does have credibility, and they’re not going to do pictures like that because they get sued for a lot of money if things are wrong. There’s a picture, and that’s the only thing I know.”
Trump invoked Cruz’s father during an extended rant against his former rival for failing to endorse him during the convention.
Back in May, Trump pointed to the tabloid which featured Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, pictured with Lee Harvey Oswald while handing out pro-Fidel Castro pamphlets in New Orleans in 1963.
“All I did was point out that on the cover of the National Enquirer there was a picture of him and crazy Lee Harvey Oswald having breakfast,” said Trump with his bewildered running-mate Mike Pence standing behind him. “Now, Ted never denied that it was his father. Instead he said, ‘Donald Trump!” — I had nothing to do with it!’ But nobody ever denied — did anyone ever deny that it was his father? It’s a little hard to do, because it looks like him.”
The GOP nominee then defended the National Enquirer for its reporting.
“This was a magazine that frankly, in many respects, should be very respected,” said Trump. “They got OJ, they got Edwards. If that was the New York Times, they would’ve gotten Pulitzer Prizes for their reporting. I’ve always said, ‘Why didn’t the National Enquirer get the Pulitzer Prize for Edwards, and OJ Simpson, and all of these things?'”
Cruz has defended his non-endorsement of Trump, stating that the GOP needs a candidate that does not “scream and yell and hurl insults.”
The social media reaction to Trump’s bizarre press conference today was brutal:
Why on earth would he revive this now? Trump revives rumor linking Cruz’s father to JFK assassination https://t.co/8VOFO6rsPX
— Brit Hume (@brithume) July 22, 2016
There he goes again https://t.co/8SgnijSlzk
— Mark R. Levin (@marklevinshow) July 22, 2016
Trump says a “credible source” made accusation that Ted Cruz’s dad was involved in JFK murder. And ‘nobody ever denied it.’ Incredible.
— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) July 22, 2016
Trump just held one of his weirdest, Cruz-bashing, JFK conspiracy theorizing rallies ever: https://t.co/5yV4r8NYMU
— Vox (@voxdotcom) July 22, 2016
— Slate (@Slate) July 22, 2016
“At no point in the video does Pence blink twice or otherwise signal that he was being held against his will…” https://t.co/E1UEgEwJ8w
— Daniel Drezner (@dandrezner) July 22, 2016
Trump is going to put his Hawaii birth certificate investigators on the JFK assassination, I guess. Look out, Rafael Cruz!
— Harold Itzkowitz (@HaroldItz) July 22, 2016
When the primaries got tough Trump did what real leaders do — attack the looks of opponent’s wife & accuse rival’s father of killing JFK
— Philip Klein (@philipaklein) July 22, 2016
Pence surely feeling great about being called upon in next interview to defend Trump’s attacks on Cruz’s wife and father.
— Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) July 22, 2016
How insanely thirsty for power does Mike Pence have to be to endure this with such a straight face? https://t.co/7hqNm3hDdF
— nilay patel (@reckless) July 22, 2016
The Republican nominee for president continues to link Ted Cruz’s father to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. https://t.co/HNilUZiBGx
— Ben White (@morningmoneyben) July 22, 2016