Donald Trump Doubles Down On This Conspiracy Theory — Because Just Beating Ted Cruz Isn't Enough
Presumptive nominees for major American political parties — they're just like us! They also find supermarket tabloids irresistible, what with all the coverage of alien abductions and very important botched-plastic-surgery exposés. Case in point: The Donald. GOP very-much-frontrunner Donald Trump has long referred to many in the media as, essentially, worthless garbage people, but this time he had nice things to say. Trump reserved his compliments for the National Enquirer and the other outlets, which he considerately described as "periodicals," that recently picked up a claim about Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's father allegedly being associated with Lee Harvey Oswald just before the latter shot President John F. Kennedy. Republicans may now spend the day absorbing the fact that, in addition to everything else, their impending nominee thinks conspiracy theories can be valid news.
Unsurprisingly, Cruz was furious when the claim about his father gained traction and offered a deliciously snark response. "Yes, my dad killed JFK; he is secretly Elvis; and Jimmy Hoffa is buried in his back yard," he told reporters in Indiana on Tuesday (before his campaign imploded).
But neither Cruz's denial of the claim — nor the fact that he's no longer an actual threat to Trump — seemed to deter the Donald from embracing the allegation. Again. On Wednesday, Trump spoke by phone to Good Morning America, where George Stephanopoulos gave him the opportunity to gracefully distance himself from the Oswald comments and from conspiracy theories in general.
"Let's talk about unifying the party behind you," Stephanopoulos began. "You had some kind words yesterday for Ted Cruz, but do you owe his father an apology for saying he was with Lee Harvey Oswald before JFK's assassination? You don't really have the evidence to back up that..."
But by this point, of course, Trump was speaking over him, as Trump is wont to do.
"I was referring to a picture that was reported in a magazine, and I think they didn't deny it, I don't think anybody denied it. No, I don't know what it was exactly, but it was a major story, major publication, and it was picked up by many other publications..."
You see where this is going. Stephanopoulos valiantly tried to steer the conversation back into the realm of reason, but Trump plowed forward as only Trump can, saying that "You can't knock the National Enquirer" because "it's brought many, many things to light, not all of them pleasant."
That Trump is a conspiracy theorist when it suits him doesn't particularly surprise me. As bizarre as it might seem initially that he would double down on this particular attack, I think it is another case of him just wildly defending anything anti-Cruz when asked. Trump's politics might flip-flop incessantly, but once he's latched onto an insult, I'm not sure he ever really backs away from it.