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Rafael Cruz's Tour of Religious Right Led to Trump Attack

Rafael Cruz's Tour of Religious Right Led to Trump Attack

Donald Trump and Rafael Cruz

Donald Trump is accusing Ted Cruz's father of associating with JFK's killer.

The Rafael Cruz whisper campaign being run through visits to antigay religious groups took a detour from its normal anti-LGBT focus -- and earned the backlash of Donald Trump.

In retribution for something Rafael Cruz told the American Family Association in Indiana, the Republican front-runner for president is accusing Ted Cruz's staunchly anti-LGBT father of associating with John F. Kennedy's assassin.

It's a sordid accusation spread by Trump today on Fox News and comes with basically no proof. The story originated with the National Enquirer, the same place that accused Cruz of numerous affairs with Republican politicos. No other media outlet has substantiated those claims either.

Trump was responding to something that Rafael Cruz said to the American Family Association of Indiana. "I implore every member of the Body of Christ to vote according to the word of God," he says on a video interview. Then Rafael Cruz went after Trump, saying, "The alternative could be the destruction of America."

As Indiana heads to the polls today to vote in the primary, Ted Cruz was already in front of cameras this morning calling Trump's accusation "nuts," and saying Trump "lies practically every word that comes out of his mouth."

Ted Cruz's dad might not be all that well known to the mainstream media, but to LGBT people he's already infamous for spreading extreme homophobia and transphobia. The elder Cruz is not only a relative of the firebrand conservative senator from Texas, but is also intertwined with Cruz's presidential campaign, traveling the country visiting churches and groups on the religious right to literally sing his son's praises.

The Advocate reported in April on how Cruz's 76-year-old father, a reverend, is closely linked to his son's radical anti-LGBT views.

"He is Ted's surrogate traveling across the country on the campaign trail bashing gay people," said Chuck Smith, CEO of Equality Texas, in our story. "Like father, like son."

The father runs a kind of whisper campaign, often saying things that his son -- nor any politician -- could get away with. Rafael Cruz predicts, for example, that an uprising will happen in response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, and claims that gay people want to legalize pedophilia.

Trump basically signed onto the notion from the Enquirer that a man pictured in an August 1963 photo alongside Lee Harvey Oswald is actually a young Rafael Cruz. The man was never identified by the Warren Commission that investigated the November 1963 assassination in Dallas. Rafael Cruz grew up in Cuba and aided Fidel Castro's revolutionaries there, though he claims to have never ascribed to communism. In the photo, Oswald and the group of men are distributing leaflets for the "Fair Play for Cuba Committee."

"I mean, what was he doing -- what was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death? Before the shooting?" Trump said during Fox & Friends. "It's horrible."

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