Did Ted Cruz Pay ‘Hush Money’ to Carly Fiorina Over #CruzSexScandal?

Ted Cruz at a campaign event in Wisconsin. (Getty)

Ted Cruz at a campaign event in Wisconsin. (Getty)

Did 2016 Republican Presidential contender Ted Cruz pay Carly Fiorina’s campaign to keep her quiet about an affair? It’s unlikely, but Twitter speculation abounds.

Chatter about the “scandal” stems entirely from a National Enquirer story that hit newsstands March 25, alleging Cruz had affairs with five women. The Enquirer ran pixelated headshots of five women that the tabloid claims had affairs with Cruz. One of the headshots appears to be of Carpenter, but there’s no evidence to back up the Enquirer’s report.
A Ted Cruz-affiliated Super PAC, Keep the Promise I, donated $500,000 to rival Carly Fiorina’s presidential campaign in July 2015. The Washington Post noted that the donation was “unusual” at the time, but Twitter and the National Enquirer claim to have a key piece of context: Cruz was having an affair with Fiorina staffer Sarah Isgur Flores.

The Enquirer claims that Cruz cheated on his wife with five different women over the course of his campaign. While the Enquirer pixelated the photos it ran with the story, Twitter sleuths posting at #CruzSexScandal have claimed to unravel a few of the mysteries:

Sarah Isgur Flores, in the center of the supposed de-pixelated photos above, worked for the Fiorina campaign during the 2016 election. As goes the theory, when Fiorina found out about the affair, Cruz silenced her with a half-million-dollar donation.

It bears repeating that no one has proof of anything, and Fiorina has herself endorsed and campaigned with Cruz since ending her campaign. Moreover, a photo from Flores’s Twitter shows Fiorina and the Cruz family being quite friendly:

It’s also important to note that the allegations come on the heels of a heated Twitter spat between Cruz and Donald Trump about the use of each others’ wives on the campaign trail, and that another named woman, Katrina Pierson, serves as a Trump spokeswoman. Left-leaning blog Crooks and Liars found the extent of these coincidences strained credulity:

It feels to me like Trump dropped a whole lot of garbage over at the Enquirer to discredit Ted Cruz, and that sense is backed up even more by the fact that one of the lovely ladies is supposedly Donald Trump’s spokeswoman. That’s just a little too convenient.