Republican frontrunner Donald Trump on Tuesday aired a tabloid story that said Rafael Cruz, Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) father, was seen with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Asked by the “Fox and Friends” crew about the elder Cruz saying not voting for his son could mean “the destruction of America,” Trump veered without warning into conspiracies surrounding Kennedy’s death, without ever mentioning the late President by name.
“It’s disgraceful that his father can go out and do that. And just – so many people are angry about it. And the Evangelicals are angry about it the way he does that. There’s a whole thing,” he said. “You know, his father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald’s being, you know, shot.”
Trump continued: “What is this, right prior to his being shot, and nobody even brings it up. They don’t even talk about that. That was reported and nobody talks about it. But I think it’s horrible. I think it’s absolutely horrible that a man can go and do that. What he’s saying there.”
Fox News host Brian Kilmeade interjected at that point to explain the National Enquirer published what the tabloid claims is a photo of Rafael Cruz distributing pro-Castro leaflets with Oswald in August 1963.
But the GOP frontrunner interrupted to ask, “What was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death, before the shooting? It’s horrible.”
Aside from experts who spoke to The Enquirer, the authenticity of the photo and the identification of Rafael Cruz have not been confirmed.
The Cruz campaign strenuously condemned the story as “another garbage story in a tabloid full of garbage” after it was published in April. In a Tuesday statement to MSNBC after Trump’s remarks, the campaign said, “It is further evidence of how detached from reality Donald Trump is. He will say anything to make news regardless of whether or not it’s factual.”
Watch the exchange, captured by TPM: