Donald Trump is looking to put the last nail in the coffin of Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential bid with a win Tuesday in the Indiana primary -- and the billionaire seems willing to say anything to become the presumptive GOP nominee.
In a Tuesday morning phone interview with "Fox and Friends," Trump mentioned a National Enquirer story claiming Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, was photographed with Lee Harvey Oswald distributing pro-Fidel Castro literature in New Orleans in 1963, just a few months before President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.
"His father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald being shot. I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous," Trump said. "Nobody even brings it up, they don't even talk about that."
"What was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death, before the shooting?" Trump asked.
The Miami Herald picked up on the story, though the newspaper noted that the allegation has not been corroborated and that Cruz’s campaign has vehemently denied the claim. The Cruz team also issued a statement saying Trump is “detached from reality.”
The former reality TV star also knocked Cruz’s father, who is a minister, for calling on Christians to support his son in Indiana’s primary. “I think it’s a disgrace that he’s allowed to do it. I think it’s a disgrace that he’s allowed to say it,” Trump said. "It's disgraceful that his father can go out and do that and so many people are angry about it, and the evangelicals are angry about it, the way he does that."
A Facebook video shows the elder Cruz made the appeal on April 25 in Indianapolis to a group of pastors. “I am convinced that man is my son, Ted Cruz. The alternative could be the destruction of America,” Cruz said in the clip.
It isn’t the first time Trump has targeted the Texas lawmaker’s family.
In March, he threatened to “spill the beans” on Cruz’s wife, Heidi, a senior executive for Goldman Sachs who took a leave from work in order to help her husband's campaign. The threat came after a pro-Cruz group made a Facebook advertisement that showed Trump’s wife, Melania, posing nearly completely nude for an ad in a high-end fashion magazine. The exchange escalated into a days-long feud over the contender’s wives that stands out as a particularly nasty episode in what has been a vitriolic GOP primary.
The Enquirer story also adds another strange conspiracy theory to Cruz’s name. There’s already an internet-inspired rumor that he is actually the Zodiac Killer; the charge has become such a distraction in the media and on the campaign trail that Heidi Cruz had to respond to the allegation, calling it “garbage.”
Attacking Cruz’s father may be over the top, even for Trump. A RealClearPolitics average of polls shows him with an almost 11-point advantage in the Hoosier State, putting him on a path to win all 57 delegates at stake and putting him less than 200 delegates away from cinching the Republican nomination.
Those thinking Indiana’s primary will mean the end of Cruz should take a breath, though; the Texas lawmaker has vowed to stay in the race until next month’s primary in California. The likelihood that Cruz will endorse Trump after the dark comments about his wife and now his father, is doubtful based on comments Cruz made during an impromptu press conference in Indiana.
“I’m going to tell you what I really think of Donald Trump. This man is a pathological liar. He doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies,” he said, calling the charges against his father “nuts” and “kooky.”
Cruz didn’t stop there, saying Trump is “utterly amoral. Morality doesn't exist for him.” He also called Trump a “narcissist at a level I don’t think this country has ever seen” and a “serial philanderer.”
“We are staring at the abyss,” according to Cruz, who dug deep to come up with insults for the former reality TV star and cited an interview with the writer of “Back to the Future II” who said Biff Tannen, the bully in the movie, was based on Trump. “We are looking, potentially, at the Biff Tannen presidency,” Cruz warned, describing the fictional Tannen as a "braggadocios, arrogant buffoon."