Throughout his presidential campaign, Donald Trump hasn't exactly maintained an "Honest Abe" reputation. Still, it was disturbing (if not shocking) to see that the presumptive Republican nominee admitted to giving credence to conspiracy theories about the father of his former GOP rival, Ted Cruz, even though he did not believe the allegations. More than boasts about his genitals or insinuations about Megyn Kelly's menstrual cycle, this admission brings Trump's campaign to a new low.
When grilled by CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday about whether he actually believed the National Enquirer story alleging that Cruz's father, Rafael, was connected to Lee Harvey Oswald, the man who assassinated John F. Kennedy, Trump responded:
Of course, I don't believe it. I wouldn't believe it. But I did say, let people read it.
Trump actually said a bit more than that — and he said it the same day of the crucial Indiana primary Cruz lost. Hours before the polls closed, Trump told Fox News "His [Cruz's] father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald's being — you know, shot. I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous." Trump arguably fed the flames of conspiracy theorists, adding, "I mean, what was he doing — what was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death? Before the shooting?"
Unsurprisingly, Cruz swiftly and decisively refuted the National Enquirer's claim. On Tuesday, Cruz told reporters in Indiana, “This is just kooky." He added sarcastically, "And while I'm at it, I guess I should go ahead and admit, yes, my dad killed JFK, he is secretly Elvis and Jimmy Hoffa is buried in his backyard."
It turns out, Trump is actually in agreement with Cruz on this one. A little over 24 hours after promoting the Rafael Cruz-Lee Harvey Oswald link, Trump made it clear that he didn't believe the National Enquirer conspiracy theory about Cruz's father at all.
Of course, with his typical bravado and total lack of standards, Trump attempted to justify the slimy move by saying, "I didn't know if I was going to win Indiana or not ... I was going against them; they were going against me."
Ironically, when asked by Blitzer if he thought the primary system was rigged against him, he responded "100 percent." He added that "The only way I got it, I went for the knockout." I guess "knockout" is a simpler way to say "conspiracy theories about my opponent's dad."