Ted Cruz went on a blistering ramble against Donald Trump on Tuesday, delivering a list of stinging personal attacks that included calling the GOP front-runner a “serial philanderer,” “pathological liar” and a “narcissist.”
The attacks came on the day of the Indiana primary and hours after Trump repeated a flawed National Enquirer story tying Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
“This man is a pathological liar. He doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies. He lies practically every word that comes out of his mouth,” Cruz told reporters in Evansville, Indiana.
Rafael Cruz has remained silent on the issue Tuesday, but did address the Enquirer allegations in private while campaigning in Indiana for his son last Sunday, not long after the Enquirer article was first published. Speaking to a crowd at the Living Stones Church in Crown Point, Rafael took a question from a parishioner about what to pray for to help Cruz succeed. Rafael suggested praying for peace in the face of political attacks.
“Look at what just came out in the National Enquirer today,” Rafael said Sunday. “The National Enquirer came out today saying that I was involved in the Kennedy assassination.”
When the pastor asked jokingly if it was true, Rafael said: “I’ll tell you one thing I would love to see change in America. Because I’m a public figure, I cannot sue the National Enquirer. I would love to sue them for defamation.”
Rafael also implied that Trump had planted the item in an attempt to foil Cruz in Indiana (the Enquirer has endorsed Trump).The Hoosier State primary is crucial for Cruz’s goal of preventing Trump from gaining enough delegates to secure the nomination. Most polls show Trump with a lead in the state, and Cruz’s attacks against his rival on Tuesday went into his personal life in a way Trump’s opponents have largely avoided until now.
“Donald Trump is a serial philanderer and he boasts about it,” Cruz said. “This is not a secret, he is proud of being a serial philanderer…Describes his battles with venereal diseases as his own personal Vietnam.”
The Texas senator also echoed an attack used by Hillary Clinton, saying Trump is afraid of strong women and is a “bully” to females.
“If anyone has seen the movie ‘Back to the Future II’, the screenwriter says that he based the character Biff Tannen on Donald Trump, the caricature of a braggadocious, arrogant buffoon…We are looking, potentially, at the Biff Tannen presidency,” Cruz said.
The senator has avoided directly answering whether he would support Trump as the Republican presidential nominee. But the increasingly personal battle between the two candidates who earlier in the campaign had an informal alliance brings into question how the party will unite once a nominee is selected.
And though Cruz has vowed to continue his campaign as long a viable path to the nomination exists, he talked about the impact of Tuesday’s results in no uncertain terms.
“If Indiana does not act, this country could well plunge into the abyss,” Cruz said.
Tony Dokoupil contributed to this report.
This article originally appeared on NBCNews.com.