The story took the Republican presidential race to a new level of
personal rancor and Trump issued a statement saying he was not
responsible for it.
"I have nothing to do with the National Enquirer and unlike Lyin'
Ted Cruz I do not surround myself with political hacks and henchman
and then pretend total innocence," Trump said.
Cruz, a U.S. senator from Texas, addressed the Enquirer story at a
news conference in Wisconsin, saying, "Let me be clear. This
National Enquirer story is garbage. It is complete and utter lies.
It's tabloid smear and it is a smear that has come from Donald Trump
and his henchmen."
Trump's statement pointed to other articles the Enquirer, a tabloid
known for its gossip and unflattering celebrity photos, had been
correct about in the past.
"Ted Cruz’s problem with the National Enquirer is his and his alone,
and while they were right about O.J. Simpson, John Edwards, and many
others, I certainly hope they are not right about Lyin’ Ted Cruz,"
the billionaire New York developer said.
Trump and Cruz have sparred in recent days about their wives as they
battle to be the Republican nominee in the Nov. 8 election. Earlier
this week Trump accused Cruz of posting a nude photo of Trump's
wife, Melania, on Twitter. Cruz denied having any role in the photo
being circulated on the Internet and Trump responded by threatening
to "spill the beans" on Cruz's wife.
Cruz said the Enquirer story was evidence that Trump is unfit to be
president. "This man would be an embarrassment," he said.
The Enquirer published blurred images of five women with whom it
said Cruz has had affairs but did not name them. Two women who
appeared to be pictured in the Enquirer stepped forward on Friday
and called the article false.
The National Enquirer could not immediately be reached for comment
on the story.
Cruz' wife, Heidi Cruz, was campaigning with him on Friday and he
gave her a hug and kiss before he began a town hall event. She sat
off stage smiling while he spoke.
[to top of second column]
This is not the first time a presidential candidate has been accused
of extramarital sex.
During the 1992 campaign, Gennifer Flowers came forward to detail an
affair she had with Bill Clinton. Subsequently, more women admitted
to having affairs with him, including then-White House intern Monica
Former Colorado Senator Gary Hart, a Democrat, had his 1988
presidential campaign derailed when reports surfaced that he was
having an affair.
Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards admitted to having an
affair with a campaign photographer during his 2004 campaign,
although the public did not learn about the romance until after he
The Enquirer's Cruz story exploded on the social media site Twitter
overnight on Thursday. By Thursday afternoon, #CruzSexScandal was a
worldwide trending topic on Twitter.
(Reporting by Ginger Gibson, Susan Heavey, Patrick Rucker and Alana
Wise; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Bill Trott)
[© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2016 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.