The drama between the two candidates isn't over yet

By Diana Pearl
Updated March 25, 2016 05:30 PM
Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty

brightcove.createExperiences(); The boiling feud between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz has gotten even hotter over claims that Trump was behind a story about Cruz having extramarital affairs.

Cruz was forced to deny a report in this week’s National Enquirer, which alleges that Cruz has cheated on his wife with five different women. Since its publication, the story has gained steam, with the hashtag #TedCruzSexScandal cropping up on Twitter.

Cruz spoke out Friday, calling the report “garbage” and “offensive” to him, his wife Heidi and their two daughters. He also claimed that the story came from Trump’s own advisers.

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“For Donald J. Trump to enlist his friends at the National Enquirer and his political henchmen to do his bidding shows you that there is no low Donald won’t go,” he wrote in a post on Facebook. “Donald Trump’s consistently disgraceful behavior is beneath the office we are seeking and we are not going to follow.”

Cruz blames one of Trump’s top advisers, Roger Stone, for the story, saying that he was the only source quoted on the record in the piece. He also cited Trump’s alleged friendship with the CEO of the Enquirer, David Pecker.

“These stories have been swirling about Cruz for some time,” Stone said in the article. “I believe where there is smoke there is fire. I have to believe this will hurt him with his evangelical Christian supporters.”

But as fast as Cruz denied the Enquirer‘s claims – and pinned them on Trump, Trump was just as quick to issue a denial.

“I have nothing to do with the National Enquirer and unlike Lyin’ Ted Cruz I do not surround myself with political hacks and henchman (sic) and then pretend total innocence,” Trump said in a statement.

However, Trump couldn’t help but needle Cruz on the topic, saying the tabloid had been “right about O.J. Simpson, John Edwards, and many others, I certainly hope they are not right about Lyin’ Ted Cruz.”

The whole ordeal has brought Cruz the closest he’s ever been to saying he won’t back Donald Trump if he wins the Republican nomination.

“I don’t make a habit out of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my family,” Cruz said in a press conference in Oshkosh, Wisconsin earlier today. “And Donald Trump is not going to be the Republican nominee.”