This week the National Enquirer came out with a story claiming that GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz had affairs with five unnamed women, an allegation that sparked a bunch of online rumors about who the mistresses could be but hasn't been confirmed by anyone else. For a time most people involved in the 2016 campaign—even Donald Trump—weren't referring to it directly even as the #TedCruzSexScandal hashtag spread across Twitter, but on Friday Cruz brought it up himself and used the story as a way of attacking Trump.
"It became clear as the campaign went on that Donald was a whole lot of sizzle without any substance," said Cruz at a press conference, according to the Washington Post. "When he's scared, when he's losing, his first and natural resort is to go to sleaze and to go to slime."
The Texas Senator then went on a bit of an odd tangent. Again via the Post:
"It is a story that quoted one source on the record: Roger Stone, Donald Trump's chief political adviser," said Cruz. "It is attacking my family. And what is striking is Donald's henchman, Roger Stone, had for months been foreshadowing that this attack was coming. It's not surprising that Donald's tweet [about "spilling the beans" on Cruz's wife] occurs the day before the attack comes out. And I would note that Mr. Stone is a man who has 50 years of dirty tricks behind him. He's a man for whom a term was coined for copulating with a rodent. Well, let me be clear: Donald Trump may be a rat, but I have no desire to copulate with him."
To unpack that: Roger Stone is a Trump loyalist who left the mogul's campaign last year but still supports him; he's also famous as a Republican operative who has employed some fairly dirty tricks in service of everyone from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush. As for all that stuff with a rat, well, ratfucking is a term for using underhanded tactics during a political campaign. Cruz clearly wanted to call Stone (and by extension Trump) a ratfucker but obviously couldn't say that word out loud so instead took that metaphor for a walk and wound up saying that he didn't want to have sex with the Apprentice star.
At that presser, Cruz also noted Trump's relationship with Enquirer CEO David Pecker as evidence that the Donald was behind the story. On Facebook, he doubled down in a post that read, "These attacks are garbage… Donald Trump's consistently disgraceful behavior is beneath the office we are seeking and we are not going to follow."
In a statement, Trump responded by saying, "I have no idea whether or not the cover story about Ted Cruz in this week's issue of the National Enquirer is true or not, but I had absolutely nothing to do with it, did not know about it, and have not, as yet, read it… I certainly hope they are not right about Lyin' Ted Cruz."