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WATCH: Ted Cruz Calls Planned Parenthood Suspect 'Transgendered Leftist'

Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz has denounced the man being questioned by police for Friday’s deadly shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood office as a “transgendered leftist activist,” citing a report by a right-wing blogger.

The Republican U.S. Senator from Texas was campaigning Sunday at the Pizza Ranch in Newton, Iowa, where reporters asked him about Robert Lewis Dear, whom he called “this deranged individual” suspected of killing three people and wounding nine.

“The media promptly wants to blame him on the pro-life movement when at this point there’s very little evidence to indicate that,” Cruz told reporters. 

One of the journalists there, Samantha-Jo Roth, tweeted his words and recorded him saying them: 

 

 

 

Dear’s reported reference to “baby parts” apparently refers to a series of deceptively edited and discredited videos put out by the speciously named Center for Medical Progress. As our sibling publication SheWired reported, the group claimed that Planned Parenthood was selling the parts of aborted fetuses for a profit. St. Louis TV station KBIA reported in October: “Last month, Attorney General Chris Koster released a report stating that the Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis is properly disposing of fetal tissue and that there is ‘no evidence whatsoever’ that the clinic ever sold tissue.”

A spokesperson for Cruz clarified his remarks about Dear to The New York Times and other media outlets:

“Aides to Mr. Cruz said he was not saying with certainty that the gunman was a “transgender leftist activist,” but rather highlighting how little was known about him definitively.

“‘He was making the point that there isn’t enough information,’ Rick Tyler, a campaign spokesman, said. ‘You can’t expect a full response to a story that’s developing. The point was there’s a lot of raw information going around that’s not confirmed.’

“Asked what news reports Mr. Cruz was referring to, a spokeswoman, Catherine Frazier, pointed to a website called therightscoop.com. Its post, titled ‘Was the Colorado shooter a TRANSGENDER person?!?!,’ said there were voting records in which a Robert L. Dear Jr. was identified as female.”

The Right Scoop appears to have garnered its information from right-wing blogger Jim Hoft's The Gateway Pundit.

Gateway Pundit

Gateway Pundit

BuzzFeed sent a reporter to Dear’s hometown of Hartsel, Colo., where six people who reportedly had interacted with Dear said they had no indication he identified as transgender.

One neighbor, Zigmond Post, told BuzzFeed he was a “rough looking, giant dude,” as if to say that size and outward appearance were indicative of gender identity. The Right Scoop posted Dear's mug shot and likewise noted:

"Now this could be a mistake because this dude does not look like a transgender:"

 

 

As Zach Ford wrote for Think Progress, since there have been no past reports of his identity suggesting that he identifies as anything other than as a man, “the voter registration form identifying him as female is the only discrepancy, making it most likely a typo and nothing more.”

This is hardly the first attempt by Cruz and other conservative candidates to portray transgender individuals negatively, as evidenced by the successful campaign to defeat an equal rights ordinance in Houston. It suggested extending nondiscrimination protections to transgender women would allow them or those claiming to be trans to prey upon women and children in restrooms. Earlier this month, Cruz called support for trans students “lunacy.”

Watch the video of Ted Cruz in Iowa from Huffington Post contributor Samantha-Jo Roth, below:

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