Sen. Ted Cruz unleashed a fierce tirade against Donald Trump on Tuesday, using his harshest rhetoric yet against the frontrunner as Indiana headed to the polls for what could be a do-or-die primary.
“This man is a pathological liar. He doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies,” Cruz said at a press conference. “He lies – practically every word that comes out of his mouth.”
At various points, he called Trump a “narcissist” and “serial philanderer” and said “morality doesn’t exist” for him.
Cruz also responded at length to the Republican presidential frontrunner’s suggestion earlier in the day that Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, was somehow linked to Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassin of President John F. Kennedy.
“This is nuts,” Cruz said.
The Texas senator mocked Trump’s suggestions, going on a sarcastic riff to lump in Trump with famous conspiracy theorists.
“Yes, my dad killed JFK. He’s secretly Elvis. And Jimmy Hoffa is buried in his backyard,” Cruz said.
Trump’s assertion came during a Fox News interview on Tuesday, when Trump cited a dubious National Enquirer article. The publication has endorsed Trump in this election cycle, and has published a series of suspect and unverified stories critical of the Texas senator and his family, including one that Cruz accused of being fomented by Trump’s “henchmen.”
The Texas senator also railed against Trump’s sustained attacks on Cruz’s family. He dismissed the Enquirer’s stories as “idiotic” and criticized Trump’s retweet earlier this year of an image comparing Heidi Cruz to Trump’s wife, Melania Trump.
“Apparently she’s not pretty enough for Donald Trump. I may be biased, but I think if he’s making that allegation, he’s legally blind,” Cruz said.
Trump responded to what he called Cruz’s “outburst” in a Tuesday statement:
Ted Cruz is a desperate candidate trying to save his failing campaign. It is no surprise he has resorted to his usual tactics of over-the-top rhetoric that nobody believes. Over the last week, I have watched Lyin’ Ted become more and more unhinged as he is unable to react under the pressure and stress of losing, in all cases by landslides, the last six primary elections — in fact, coming in last place in all but one of them. Today’s ridiculous outburst only proves what I have been saying for a long time, that Ted Cruz does not have the temperament to be President of the United States.
But while Cruz’s rhetoric may have sharpened, it’s unclear whether his attacks will have any effect on the key primary day.
Pressed by reporters on Tuesday, the senator again refused to answer whether he would support Trump if he became the Republican presidential nominee, a prospect that appears more and more likely.