In Indiana today a cranky Ted Cruz said, “Yes, my dad killed JFK, he is secretly Elvis, and Jimmy Hoffa is buried in his backyard.”
Poor Ted. He’s been accused via internet meme of being the mysterious Zodiac Killer, in spite of–and perhaps because it’s funnier this way–the fact that Cruz was a toddler the last time the California killer struck. Now Donald Trump has hinted that Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, a preacher and a big backer of his son for president, was buddies with John F. Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.
Trump didn’t pull this theory out of nowhere. He got it from The National Enquirer, that glorious supermarket tabloid that is full of lies but somehow in 2007 managed to break the actual story of former Sen. John Edwards having a mistress, thereby forever granting it a whisper of “Well, maybe it could be true….” The Enquirer, Cruz claims, has it in for his family. It published stories about his wife and stories about his supposed affairs with multiple women. It’s in the tank for Trump, claims little Cruz.
But where did the Enquirer get this “news” of Rafael Cruz? Well, there exists a photo of Oswald and some men in New Orleans handing out pro-Fidel Castro pamphlets in 1963. According to a few conspiracy theories, one unidentified man is Rafael Cruz. Former Washington Post writer Jefferson Morley, who runs jfkfacts.org, says there is no evidence to suggest that that is Cruz the elder in the photo beyond the fact that he lived in New Orleans at the same time.
The surprising thing about Rafael Cruz is that he did initially support the Cuban Revolution, brought to you by Fidel and Raul Castro. But the elder Cruz was a teenager at the time, and one who had already been arrested and beaten by goons of dictator Fulgencio Batista, whom the Castros ousted. Cruz says that experience led him to back the revolution, until he realized there was going to be the same amount of torture and murder as before. Then he peaced out over to America, where he decided to be sorry for his brief flirtation with communism forever more.
Even though Rafael Cruz may have exaggerated his badassitude as a freedom fighter, and it’s alarming when he hints that God wants his son to be president, there’s no solid evidence connecting him to helping Oswald plot an assassination. Trump loves a good conspiracy theory, but somehow he seems to only latch onto the ones with a whiff of xenophobia. Yep, Obama was secretly born in Kenya, Mexico sends its rapists to America, thousands of Muslims celebrated the 9/11 attacks in New Jersey, and now this Canadian candidate’s Cuban papa was buds with a guy who gunned down a president.