The Ted Cruz sex scandal may be nothing of the sort, some journalists are beginning to say after the seemingly bombshell story hit the news this week.
On Friday, the National Enquirer reported that Cruz had been something of a ladies man in Washington, with five different mistresses. It appeared to be a major story, especially given Cruz’s strong Christian faith and his seemingly strong morals.
But there very quickly appeared to be cracks in the story, and now many journalists are going on record to raise doubts that any of it might be true. The most immediate denials came from two of the women identified in the story, Donald Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson and CNN contributor Amanda Carpenter.
Carpenter, who was put on the spot by Trump surrogate Adriana Cohen during a live interview, was particularly vehement in her denial.
“It’s categorically false, what’s out there is tabloid trash. You should be ashamed for spreading this kind of smut. Trump supporters should be held to account for it,” Carpenter told Cohen.
Then Ted Cruz himself denied the sex scandal allegations, saying it may have been planted by Donald Trump as a smear — a claim Trump later denied himself.
“It is a story that quoted one source on the record: Roger Stone, Donald Trump’s chief political adviser,” Cruz said (via The Independent).
“It is attacking my family. And what is striking is Donald’s henchman, Roger Stone, had for months been foreshadowing that this attack was coming. It’s not surprising that Donald’s tweet occurs the day before the attack comes out.
“And I would note that Mr. Stone is a man who has 50 years of dirty tricks behind him. He’s a man for whom a term was coined for copulating with a rodent. Well, let me be clear: Donald Trump may be a rat, but I have no desire to copulate with him…The question that people are asking is how low will Donald go.”
Stasi: GOP race even sleazier with new Cruz, Trump feuds https://t.co/6R743EsvJ0
— Samuel F. Reynolds (@sfreynolds) March 27, 2016
And in the hours and days that followed the revelation, other journalists came forward to acknowledge knowing of the story beforehand and being unable to verify. The Daily Beast that the story had been pitched to a number of media outlets by “Marco Rubio allies,” but that all passed on it as they could not verify the details presented.
The Huffington Post later traced the history of the alleged Ted Cruz sex scandal story, finding that the rumors went back for months, but had seemingly little substance to them.
“One journalist, Texas Monthly senior editor Erica Grieder, said she’d heard the rumors for months. She tweeted Friday that a reporter from a different tabloid outlet asked her in January about the rumor involving Cruz and the Texas-based Pierson. She found the rumor — that the pair had sex in a closet at a Republican event — to be dubious. ‘If the controversial Cruz had snuck off with the controversial [Pierson] at a public event in 2012, I’d have heard about it, years ago,’ she tweeted.”
Grieder heard the rumor again from a journalist while reporting in Iowa and put the claim before Cruz sources, none of whom found it credible. She added that given several outlets were chasing the rumor, one would presumably ‘have the evidence by now.'”
Despite the initial bombshell of the allegations, many political pundits believe that Ted Cruz may escape the news of his alleged sex scandal largely unscathed, especially amid growing doubts about the story’s veracity. Many media outlets have declined the chance to dig deeper, and Politico even posed the rhetorical question if voters should care, concluding largely that even a real sex scandal should not have too much bearing on the race.
[Pictures by Scott Olson/Getty Images]