Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has accused rival Senator Ted Cruz of buying the rights to his wife’s naked GQ Magazine cover shoot photo and then allegedly signaling a non-Cruz-affiliated anti-Trump Super PAC to go ahead and use the photo in effort to smear Trump’s current wife. This nasty accusation from the Manhattan socialite is in typical Trump-taste: disgraceful, outlandish and most importantly, without evidence.
Trump called in to ABC News on Easter Sunday to explain that the National Enquirer story which smeared Cruz as a cheater with at least five different women had nothing to do with little old Trump. He added that it was “disgraceful” of Cruz to accuse him of such as nasty thing and that above all else “[Cruz] started it." Because apparently our politics have been reduced to third-grade style but-he-started-it rationale. Trump then made his baseless accusation that the Cruz campaign "bought the rights" to Melania’s GQ Magazine photo (the one Trump described as “fine” and “no big deal” in this very interview) to smear her, insinuating that any hits on Cruz or his wife from hence forth were fair game.
Unsurprisingly, there is absolutely no evidence to Trump's claim and The Hill reports that the Cruz campaign has vehemently denied "buying the rights" to any photo of Melania Trump:
Cruz campaign spokesperson Catherine Frazier said the campaign did not buy the photo rights. "Of course we haven't and Trump knows it," she said in an email to The Hill. "But [it's] part and parcel for the sleazy, dishonest campaign he is running."
Here’s the photo Trump was referring to, a naked image of Melania handcuffed on his private plane taken while the two were dating, used by the anti-Trump Super PAC, mockingly called “Make America Awesome.”
Here’s Liz Mair, the head of “Make America Awesome” explicitly stating that the Cruz camp had nothing to do with the photo.
Although there is no evidence that the Cruz camp “bought the rights” to Melania's naked photo, there is much evidence attaching Trump to the ridiculous Cruz sex scandal smear. Ben Shapiro explained on Friday:
Trump has a long, friendly history with the CEO of the National Enquirer, as Gabe Sherman of New York Magazine pointed out back in October:
Trump and Enquirer CEO David Pecker have been friends for years. “They’re very close,” said a source close to the Enquirer. In July 2013, Trump even tweeted that Pecker should become CEO of Time magazine, which at the time was being spun off from its corporate parent, Time Warner. “He’d make it exciting and win awards!”
In fact, Sherman said that Trump’s campaign had planted information with the National Enquirer that Dr. Ben Carson had botched surgeries:
This person also said that Trump’s campaign was a source for the article: “His campaign provided information that was used,” he explained. A Trump friend said that in the days leading up to the article’s publication Trump was telling people that Carson “had a lot of medical malpractice suits” and “almost killed a guy.”
The Trump campaign denied that, and so did the Enquirer.
In this case, the only person quoted by name in the entire National Enquirer Cruz story is Roger Stone, a longtime Trump advisor, who said, “These stories have been swirling around Cruz for some time. I believe where there is smoke there is fire. I have to believe this will hurt him with his evangelical Christian supporters.”
And, of course, today Adriana Cohen, a Trump surrogate, directly asked Amanda Carpenter, one of the women fingered by the Enquirer, about the story on air. So the story is being propagated by the representatives of the only confirmed philanderer Republican candidate left in the race.
So to recap, first, Mr. Trump blamed Cruz for the use of a pubic naked photo of his wife used by an anti-Trump Super PAC, and although it was made clear to the real estate mogul that Cruz had nothing to do with the photo, he continued to threaten to “spill the beans” on Cruz’s wife Heidi and then post a disgusting sexist photo of Heidi comparing her appearance to his wife’s. Trump then allegedly assisted in pushing the National Enquirer smear on Cruz, a filthy thus far unsubstantiated attack. Trump then oddly supported any smears of Cruz or his wife with the “he started it” defense. And now, to the surprise of no one, the businessman claimed that Cruz “bought the rights” to Melania Trump’s naked public imagine (to which she consented to and which is accessible via a simple Google search) all to smear her.