In a bizarre turn, Texas Senator Ted Cruz refused to answer a direct question from the Daily Mail about his fidelity to his wife, Heidi Cruz. Instead, he stood silent while Carly Fiorina jumped in front of the mic complaining that, “‘This is an example of the media playing to Donald Trump’s tune.” It looked like pre-planned outrage to a question they were expecting. (See full video below)
Questions of adultery have dogged Senator Cruz since the National Enquirer published a story alleging that he was involved in extramarital affairs with 5 women. Senator Cruz has sought to deflect attention from the story by blaming Donald Trump and “his henchman.” But both Trump and the National Enquirer have denied that Trump or his campaign had any involvement in the story.
What is more, multiple sources have reported that the Cruz sex scandal story has been circulating for months, pushed by GOP operatives allied to the Rubio campaign. And contrary to Cruz’s claim, Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers reported that another anti-Trump operative had been “aggressively” pushing the story about Cruz’s alleged affairs to “major media outlets.” Yet, Senator Cruz has continued to try to shift attention to Donald Trump rather than answer the allegations head-on.
With allegations swirling, anti-Trump Super-Pac chief Liz Mair revealed the identities of 2 of the women in the Enquirer’s story. The Enquirer story did not name any names but instead published pixelated photos of the 5 women. The 2 women, Amanda Carpenter and Katrina Pierson, both issued categorical denials. The other 3 women have remained silent.
Why Is Carly Fiorina Answering For Cruz?
When asked about the allegations, Senator Cruz has given a stock response calling the Enquirer story “garbage” and blaming Donald Trump. That sounds like a denial, but it isn’t. That’s why the reporter from the Daily Mail asked the Senator a straight ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question:
“Can you please swat down more definitively this National Enquirer piece by telling us on the record that you’ve never been unfaithful to your wife?”
But instead of giving a direct answer that would have put an end to the story, the normally loquacious Cruz said nothing, preferring to let Fiorina do the talking. She obviously can’t answer the question that was asked, so she complained about the media and Donald Trump:
“‘Why do you all dance to Donald Trump’s tune?’ she fumed. ‘Let’s talk about the issues, please!’
The reporter from the Mail followed up:
‘Senator I’m sorry, this is a very serious question about your character. Will you just – if the answer is, “Yes, I’ve always been faithful to my wife,” can you just say so please?’
Still, Cruz did not give a straight “yes” or “no” answer, choosing to go with what has become his stock response. He again called the National Enquirer story “complete garbage” and said,
“It is total lies, it was planted by Donald Trump’s henchmen, and I don’t think the people of Wisconsin or the people of America have any interest in tabloid trash.”
No More Evasions
This might have worked in the era before Bill Clinton famously evaded questions about his own adultery by saying “it depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” Since then the American people have become attuned to lawyerly evasions and want – and deserve – straightforward “yes” or “no” answers. What is more, Cruz’s stock response, that the story is just a Trump campaign dirty trick, has been exploded. The Enquirer has denied it. Trump has denied it. And both Fox News and the Daily Beast have reported that it was anti-Trump GOP operatives who pushed the story for months.
Cruz’s response is politically tone deaf, at best. Letting former rival Carly Fiorina do the talking when asked about adultery just looks odd. Failing to give a direct answer looks like an evasion. And blaming Donald Trump when the media is awash with reports that is was, in fact, anti-Trump operatives that circulated the story looks foolish.
Senator Cruz has predicated his campaign on devotion to high principle. It’s what his most fervent supporters appreciate about him. It’s time he apply those principles and answer the question simply and directly. No surrogates talking. No evasions. No weasel words. No reference to Donald Trump. That is the only way for Senator Cruz to kill this story. And it shouldn’t be that hard.