This Ted Cruz Porn Update Is Trying To Absolve The Senator Of Blame

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By early Tuesday morning, millions of Twitter users will have noticed "Ted Cruz" trending. The Twitter account of the Texas senator hit the "like" button for a pornographic tweet, and someone closely watching his tweeting took note. By mid-morning Tuesday, the scandal of a proud defender of family values "liking" a pornographic video had garnered over 400,000 tweets and counting. Cruz has now spoken out about porn "like" controversy:

It was a staffing issue, and it was inadvertent. It was a mistake, it was not a deliberate action.

Cruz went on to say that whether or not the staffer responsible for the now infamous "Like" keeps their job has yet to be decided.

Speaking with reporters Tuesday morning, Cruz also added an apparent joke: "Perhaps we should have done something like this during the Indiana primary," the gist supposedly being that "accidentally" clicking the heart button for a pornographic post would have earned Cruz some much-needed publicity. Perhaps Cruz also meant to insinuate that Indiana voters would not find such an action offensive. Given that it was in Indiana where Cruz's 2016 presidential aspirations were put to rest, specifying the Hoosier State may not be mentioned here solely in good fun — it's difficult to know for sure when dealing with politicians cracking wise.

Twitter users jumped on the Cruz "Like" Scandal of '17. Any politician getting caught publicly approving of pornography would be in for online reaming, but Cruz comes specifically well set up for the snark fest.

The senator has built his public brand around an image of himself as a true-blue upholder of good ol' days era "Christian" virtue. Cruz announced his presidential bid at the ultra conservative Liberty University; he also opposes gay marriage, and appeared at a speaking engagement alongside Kevin Swanson, a politically active pastor who has publicly advocated that homosexuals be put to death. It is helpful to rememeber here that plenty of other Republicans courting the Evangelical vote passed on the chance to bunker down alongside Swanson.

But perhaps the most glaring piece of hypocrisy confronting the Cruz team is his 2007 advocacy to ban sex toys in the state of Texas. This doozy from the brief filed by then-Solicitor General Cruz's office has been making the rounds online:

There is no substantive-due-process right to stimulate one’s genitals for non-medical purposes unrelated to procreation or outside of an interpersonal relationship.

Oof.

The memes on Twitter continue to proliferate. And while it's perfectly plausible that a staff member is responsible for the wayward "Like," it's probably not lost on those familiar with Twitter that "Likes" don't happen in a vacuum. The posts that come up in any user's feed are almost always from accounts a user is following, unless they've been promoted, retweeted, or "liked" by an account said user already follows.

It might be worthwhile for some intrepid investigator to take a look into who the senator's Twitter account is following. Of course, there are other, perhaps more obvious explanations...

Whatever the case, Cruz is unlikely to reach the end of this Twitter controversy any time soon. If he were like some other politicians that shall here remain unnamed, Cruz would be better equipped to weather the storm. There are notable figures in D.C. whose liking of pornography would be met with a shrug — people who have not proudly insisted they were above that.

It is precisely because of who Cruz is — or who he insists the viewing public see him as — that makes the porn "like" so damning. Maybe it was a staffer. But for Twitter, that's hardly the point.