US Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has accused the father of his main rival, Senator Ted Cruz, of associating with Lee Harvey Oswald not long before he assassinated President John F. Kennedy.
Trump’s comments, in a Fox News interview on Tuesday, came following an article in The National Enquirer magazine claiming to have definitive photographic evidence that Rafael Cruz was with Oswald distributing leaflets supporting the former Cuban leader Fidel Castro in the state of Louisiana in 1963.
In the interview, Trump was asked to respond to the elder Cruz’s invocations of God as he urged evangelical Christians to vote for his son, suggesting the alternative could mean the “destruction of America.”
“I think it’s a disgrace that he’s allowed to do it. I think it’s a disgrace that he’s allowed to say it,” Trump said, before adding, “And, you know, his father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald’s being — you know, shot. I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous. What is this, right, prior to his being shot, and nobody brings it up. They don’t even talk about that. That was reported and nobody talks about it. But I think it’s horrible.”
He went on, “What was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death [of JFK], before the shooting? It’s horrible.”
The Cruz campaign has called The Enquirer report error-filled and has questioned the tabloid’s approach to the 2016 US presidential race, which it has seen as pro-Trump.
A spokeswoman for Cruz, Catherine Frazier, said in a statement, “The false, cheap, meaningless comments Trump makes almost daily indicates his desperation to get attention and willingness to say anything to do so. We are campaigning on jobs, freedom, and security while Trump campaigns on false tabloid garbage.”
Trump’s comments also came on the day of the Indiana primary election, where he can effectively close out any chance for Cruz to deny him the presidential nomination.
Speaking to reporters following Trump’s comments, Cruz said Trump “is a pathological liar. He doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies.”
“A narcissist at a level I don’t think this country has ever seen,” Cruz said. “The man is utterly immoral. Morality does not exist for him.”
The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, known unofficially as the Warren Commission, was established by former President Lyndon B. Johnson in November 1963 to investigate the assassination of Kennedy.
The commission's final report released in September concluded that Oswald acted entirely alone in assassinating Kennedy.
However, many researchers remain unconvinced by the official government account and argue that Oswald was part of a conspiracy to kill Kennedy, perhaps in connection with Israel, Cuba or the former Soviet Union.