One of Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters says he may walk away from the billionaire over the alleged “sex scandal” story published by the National Enquirer on Thursday.
Radio host Michael Savage told his listeners on Friday that Trump’s ties to National Enquirer CEO David Pecker raises red flags as to who started rumors claiming Sen. Ted Cruz cheated on his wife, Heidi, with five women. The “Savage Nation” host said Pecker is known to fly on Trump’s jet from New York to Florida, which is why the Republican front-runner must condemn the story. (The relevant portion of audio begins at 1:40).
“He should get rid of this connection, because this is not going to help him at all. This is utter garbage and Cruz is rightly offended,” Savage said. “I’ve supported Trump and probably still will, but if he won’t disavow this guy Pecker and this story, I may withdraw my support from anyone in this campaign. … I am not going to support anyone who engages in assassination by innuendo.”
The tabloid’s story broke Thursday. Pressure from the online frenzy that followed prompted Cruz and two women implicated in the story to strenuously deny its claims.
“The CEO of the National Enquirer is an individual named David Pecker,” Cruz told reporters on Friday, the Washington Post reported. “Well, David is good friends with Donald Trump. In fact, the National Enquirer has endorsed Donald Trump, has said he must be president … [and] years from now, when my daughters google this, they will read these lies.”
Former Cruz communications director Amanda Carpenter and Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson, who in 2012 consulted for Cruz’s Senate campaign in Texas, also denied ever having an affair with Cruz.
Trump released his own statement denying any involvement on his part in spreading the story.
“I have no idea whether or not the cover story about Ted Cruz in this week’s issue of the National Enquirer is true or not, but I had absolutely nothing to do with it, did not know about it, and have not, as yet, read it. I have nothing to do with the National Enquirer and unlike Lyin’ Ted Cruz I do not surround myself with political hacks and henchman and then pretend total innocence. Ted Cruz’s problem with the National Enquirer is his and his alone, and while they were right about O.J. Simpson, John Edwards, and many others, I certainly hope they are not right about Lyin’ Ted Cruz. I look forward to spending the week in Wisconsin, winning the Republican nomination and ultimately the presidency in order to Make America Great Again.”
Savage said he loathes the types of stories the National Enquirer runs because he has been the target of similar attacks in the past.
“I wish Donald and Ted would cut this out and start focusing on the real threat to our nation,” said Savage. “[Hillary Clinton] will carry on the legacy of the man in the White House. … I don’t like this kind of smear, as someone who has been smeared in the media myself too often in my career.”
Readers can listen to Friday’s entire episode of “The Savage Nation” below.