The GOP Presidential race just got a whole lot dirtier as Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz found himself at the centre of a "sex scandal." The 45-year-old has been accused of adultery following a report in the National Enquirer that claimed he has had five extramarital trysts with "a hooker, a teacher and her co-workers.".
The sensational headline in the gossip magazine read: "5 romps that will destroy Ted Cruz!" The married Texas senator dismissed the claims as "garbage" attributing the article to a dirty tricks campaign by his key rival Donald Trump.
"I want to be crystal clear: these attacks are garbage. It is complete and utter lies. It is a tabloid smear, and it is a smear from Donald Trump and his henchmen.," he said. He made a further statement in a Facebook post denying the allegations adding: "These smears are completely false, they're offensive to Heidi and me, they're offensive to our daughters. Donald Trump's consistently disgraceful behavior is beneath the office we are seeking and we are not going to follow."
While The Enquirer article doesn't name the 45-year-old's alleged lovers, it does feature pixelated photos of five women with black bars across the eyes. Two of the women allegedly referred to in the article have publicly denied the claims. One of the women is a Trump campaign spokeswoman, Katrina Pierson. She tweeted: "Of course the National Enquirer story is 100% FALSE!!! I only speak to myself, however. Carry on..."
Amanda Carpenter, a former Cruz communications director who now commentates for the cable network, angrily denied the allegations saying: "It is categorically false. You should be ashamed for spreading this kind of smut."
Cruz has accused Donald Trump, his main rival for the Republican White House nomination, of orchestrating a smear campaign by enlisting the support of "his friends" at the supermarket tabloid. Mr Trump has in turn, denied planting the story in The Enquirer, which recently endorsed him for president with the headline "Trump Must Be President," a fact Cruz highlighted Friday.
"I had absolutely nothing to do with it," Trump insisted on his Facebook page. "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.
However as an aside he was eager to point out that the tabloid accurately broke the 2007 story of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards' adultery.
"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."
The rivalry between the two candidates got personal last week as their wives were dragged into the mudslinging when an anti-Trump group posted a nude photo of Mrs Trump, a former Slovenian model. Mr Trump accused Mr Cruz of sanctioning the attack, and tweeted a threat to "spill the beans on your wife!"
After the Texas senator denied involvement, Mr Trump shared a picture comparing his glamorous wife with a grimacing Mrs Cruz. The Texas senator responded angrily saying: "Donald, you're a snivelling coward. Leave Heidi the hell alone."
The reports of alleged infidelity by Cruz exploded on Twitter with the hashtag #CruzSexScandal trending with over half a million tweets posted on the subject, however the social media site soon suspended the hashtag.
While there has been no confirmation that the allegations made by The Enquirer are true, many social media commentators have been questioning the veracity of the claims while others have been having some fun at the Senator's expense as Twitter went to town.