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A Ted Cruz theory from 2016 was right, but he doesn’t want to talk about it

Eight years later, sworn testimony suggests Ted Cruz was right about Donald Trump and the National Enquirer — but Cruz apparently doesn't want to gloat.


During the 2016 presidential campaign, Sen. Marco Rubio warned voters that Donald Trump was so “dangerous” that the television personality couldn’t be trusted with the nation’s nuclear secrets. Eight years later, the Florida senator was vindicated when investigators found that the former president had been careless with nuclear secrets at his glorified country club.

Rubio did not, however, want to gloat about having been right. On the contrary, the GOP lawmaker went in the opposite direction.

All of this came to mind yesterday as a 2016 argument from Sen. Ted Cruz was also proven true — though he didn’t want to talk about it, either. NBC News reported:

David Pecker, the former publisher of the National Enquirer, testified at Donald Trump’s trial Tuesday that the tabloid completely manufactured a negative story in 2016 about the father of Sen. Ted Cruz, of Texas, who was then Trump’s rival for the GOP presidential nomination. The paper had published a photo allegedly showing Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, with Lee Harvey Oswald handing out pro-Fidel Castro pamphlets in New Orleans in 1963, not long before Oswald assassinated President John F. Kennedy.

As long time readers might recall, Trump appeared quite enthralled with the tabloid’s “reporting” on Cruz’s father and continued to emphasize the claims, even after the 2016 primary season was over. All the while, the then-GOP nominee praised and defended the National Enquirer, wondering aloud why it hadn’t been rewarded with Pulitzer Prizes.

Eight years later, the tabloid’s former publisher took the stand at Trump’s criminal trial and shared fresh details on the steps the Enquirer took in order to “help” Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

As a legal matter, it’s relevant that Pecker and his former publication were focused on Trump’s electoral needs — as opposed to Trump’s family and/or personal reputation — when it worked with Michael Cohen, the candidate’s then-fixer, on the Enquirer’s campaign-season efforts.

Those efforts, of course, included publication of negative stories targeting the other GOP presidential candidates — including Cruz, who faced all kinds of scurrilous accusations from the tabloid.

But as a political matter, it’s also notable that the Texas Republican was onto the scheme at the time. A Washington Post analysis explained:

“The CEO of the National Enquirer is an individual named David Pecker,” Cruz said at a [2016] campaign event. “Well, David is good friends with Donald Trump. In fact, the National Enquirer has endorsed Donald Trump, has said he must be president.” The senator lamented that his young daughters would someday “read these lies, these attacks that Donald and his henchmen, that his buddies at the National Enquirer spread” about their father.

After the tabloid went after Cruz’s father, and Trump seized on the story, the senator also told reporters that the future president was a “pathological liar,” adding in reference to Trump, “He doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies. He lies practically every word that comes out of his mouth.”

So, eight years later, how does the senator feel about having been right? Asked for his response to Pecker’s sworn testimony, Cruz told NBC News he’s “not interested in revisiting ancient history.”

Or put another way, the Texan is borrowing a page from Rubio’s playbook. Oh well.