Last year, when Fox News moderators called on the Republican candidates to pledge their support to the eventual nominee, it was meant to embarrass Donald Trump. Knowing that Trump had threatened to run a third-party bid for the White House if he was not treated fairly by the RNC, they wanted to start the first debate off with a bang. And sure enough, Trump was the only one on stage who refused to raise his hand for the pledge.
But now, with most of those Republicans out of the race, those pledges are coming back to haunt Trump’s remaining competitors. Trump has since agreed to support the eventual nominee, but his number-one challenger – Sen. Ted Cruz – is backing slowly away from his position. Cruz, after calling Trump a “sniveling coward” last week, was challenged on his pledge by NBC’s Hallie Jackson. He hedged, insisting that he would beat Trump for the nomination, rendering the question moot.
The next day, however, after the feud between the candidate moved from unflattering photos on Twitter to a potential scandal involving Cruz’s fidelity, the Texas conservative came much closer to denouncing his pledge. “I don’t make a habit out of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my family,” he said.
The scandal is based off thin evidence. The only news outlet to report the story is the National Enquirer, a magazine with, shall we say, a dubious record when it comes to the truth. While Trump slyly pointed out several occasions in which the Enquirer got it right, there are many other stories that turned out to be nothing but smoke. For those that know Ted Cruz, it’s hard to believe that he has cheated on his wife with five women. Even for voters who only have Cruz’s public persona to go on, it feels slightly unbelievable. We’re used to hypocritical politicians, but is there anyone who doubts Cruz’s sincerity?
That’s not to say that it couldn’t come to something. Cruz is no more or less human than anyone else. He certainly wouldn’t be the first politician to have his career ruined by his personal sins. But until there is more substance to go on than the National Enquirer, he deserves the benefit of the doubt.
Frankly, it would be a shame. Whether you’re a Trump supporter, a Cruz supporter, or one of those Republicans hoping the party can shove Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan into the slot at the convention, you can’t deny the need for more strong conservatives in Washington. Losing a guy like Cruz to another stupid sex scandal would be a very sad thing.