Republican presidential contender Sen. Ted Cruz called allegations in the National Enquirer that he had multiple extramarital affairs “lies” and “garbage,” and he accused front-runner Donald Trump of planting the story.
“This story is garbage. It is tabloid smear and it came from Donald Trump and his henchmen,” Mr. Cruz said on “Fox News Sunday.”
He noted that the only person quoted on the record in the article was Roger Stone, a former top political adviser to Mr. Trump, and that National Enquirer publisher David Pecker is a close friend of the real estate tycoon.
Mr. Cruz challenged the claim that Mr. Stone had parted ways with the Trump campaign.
“Roger Stone remains the henchman, the hatchet man, the enforcer for Donald Trump,” the Texas senator said. “He’s pushing these attacks. And by the way, he’s been pushing them for many months.”
The episode was the latest round of mud slinging in an increasingly dirty fight between Mr. Trump and Mr. Cruz, which has included jabs taken at the men’s wives.
In appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” Mr. Trump insisted that he had nothing to do with the National Enquirer story that alleged Mr. Cruz had affairs with five women, including “a hooker, a teacher & coworkers.”
“I have nothing to do whatsoever with the National Enquirer, and neither did the campaign. And I will tell you, for him to try to say that I had [something] to do with it and put the shoe on the other foot is disgraceful,” said Mr. Trump.
He added: “And by the way, he’s the one that started it.”
Mr. Trump blamed Mr. Cruz for initiating the exchange of attacks about the candidates’ wives.
Those personal exchanges began when a anti-Trump super PAC used a revealing picture of Mr. Trump’s super model wife, Melania Trump, from a GQ photo shoot in an ad before Utah’s caucuses.
Mr. Trump escalated the fight by threatening to “spill the beans” about Mr. Cruz’s wife, Heidi Trump, and then retweeting a unflattering photograph juxtaposed with a glamorous photograph of Mrs. Trump.
“There’s no way in a million years that super PAC did that without his absolute knowledge,” said Mr. Trump. “Don’t forget, I call him Lyin’ Ted. I’ve never known anybody that lied like Ted Cruz.”