A CNN panel devolved into ad hominem attacks on Friday when a columnist supporting Donald Trump used an unsubstantiated National Enquirer report to accuse a former staffer for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) of having an affair with the Texas senator.
CNN’s Kate Bolduan brought pro-Trump Boston Herald columnist Amanda Cohen and former Cruz communications director Amanda Carpenter on her show to discuss this week’s heated fight between the Republican presidential candidates over their wives.
Asked if she thought Trump should move on after a week of name-calling, Cohen responded, “Oh absolutely. I think we should move on. Where we should move to is the National Enquirer story that says Ted Cruz has had affairs with five mistresses. You have been named, Amanda.”
Cohen was referring to a bizarre, unsubstantiated Friday tabloid report that accused the Texas senator of conducting affairs with five women, including Carpenter and Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson, who previously worked on Cruz’s Senate campaign.
Bolduan jumped in to note that there was no evidence whatsoever supporting the National Enquirer report. She scolded Cohen for accusing Carpenter of sleeping with her former boss, saying it did not qualify as “moving on.”
Carpenter called the article “tabloid trash” that was “categorically false.”
“You should be ashamed for spreading this smut,” she said to Cohen.
Cruz condemned the unsubstantiated report in a press conference following a Friday morning campaign rally in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
“Let me be clear. This National Enquirer story is garbage,” Cruz said in video captured by MSNBC. “It is complete and utter lies. It is a tabloid smear and it has come from Donald Trump and his henchmen.”
Trump denied any involvement with the National Enquirer story in a statement posted on Facebook Friday, saying “I had absolutely nothing to do with it, did not know about it, and have not, as yet, read it.”
He couldn’t resist taking a shot at his rival, however.
“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,” Trump said.
Watch the video below courtesy of Real Clear Politics.
This post has been updated.