The National Enquirer ran with rumors accusing 2016 Republican Presidential contender Ted Cruz of affairs with five different women. Naturally, Cruz issued a categorical denial through Facebook, but also also accused the Trump campaign of originating the story in the hopes of garnering negative media attention for his opponent.
This wouldn’t be the first time Trump manipulated the media through false information. He rode a month-long media wave in 1994 by reporting that divorced royals Prince Charles and Princess Diana would be separately joining his Mar-a-Lago Club; though Buckingham Palace flatly denied any such membership aspirations, Trump received significant media attention and no more backlash than a little-noticed correction from the New York Times.
Trump also has a recent history of threats concerning Cruz’s marriage. After attributing anti-Trump ads featuring his wife Melania to Cruz himself (something both Cruz and officials from the ad’s PAC deny), Trump made a vague reference to “spilling the beans” on Cruz’s wife Heidi, but never elaborated, just two days before the story broke.
Trump responded to Cruz’s allegations through a media statement. In characteristic Trump fashion, the denial references notable examples of the National Enquirer being first to report many accurate stories while maintaining that he is unable to speak to this particular issue:
Katrina Pierson, a Trump spokesperson whose identity was poorly concealed in Enquirer photos and quickly identified on Twitter, is one of the women rumored to have slept with Cruz. The two have known each other since at least 2014, when Cruz praised her as a “fearless, principled conservative” during her unsuccessful Congressional run. Pierson denied any involvement as well: