If you enjoy daydreaming about Ted Cruz’s sex life, then today is your lucky day.
The National Enquireralleged on March 23 that the senator has had five extramarital affairs. And the descriptions it provided of the women—along with barely-pixelated headshots of them—left little to D.C. insiders’ imaginations as to who the Enquirer had accused of being Cruz paramours.
“A HOOKER, A TEACHER & COWORKERS: 5 romps that will destroy Ted Cruz!” the Enquirer piece boldly claims, in an article that includes a wild “sex-in-closet” allegation.
Cruz fired back on Friday, charging that the piece was baseless and that the Enquirer was taking its marching orders straight from “Donald Trump and his henchmen.”
The truth behind the rumor-mongering, however, is a little more complex. A half-dozen GOP operatives and media figures tell The Daily Beast that Cruz’s opponents have been pushing charges of adultery for at least six months now—and that allies of former GOP presidential hopeful Marco Rubio were involved in spreading the smears.
For months and months, anti-Cruz operatives have pitched a variety of #CruzSexScandal stories to a host of prominent national publications, according to Republican operatives and media figures. The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bloomberg News, Politico, and ABC News—reporters at all those outlets heard some version of the Cruz-is-cheating story. None of them decided to run with rumors. Those publications’ representatives all declined to provide on-the-record comments when The Daily Beast reached out for this article.
Breitbart News, the notoriously Trump-friendly conservative outlet, was also pitched the story of Cruz’s extramarital affairs, according to a source close to the publication. That source said an operative allied with Marco Rubio—but not associated with his official campaign—showed the publication a compilation video of Cruz and a woman other than his wife coming out of the Capitol Grille restaurant and a hotel on Tuesdays and Thursdays. But the outlet opted not to report on the video, which demonstrated no direct evidence of an affair.
“We got it from a Rubio ally,” said the source. “It was too thin, so [Breitbart’s Washington political editor Matt Boyle] decided not to run it. There was no way to verify the claims.”