Who is reading that crazy conspiracy theory meme your distant relative posted on Facebook? Ted Cruz apparently.
In a move that reflected just how desperate the right-wing has become to call the Planned Parenthood terrorist attack about any but their own anti-abortion rhetoric, Republican presidential contender Ted Cruz floated the idea that the shooter was a “trangendered Leftist.”
When asked – point blank – by a reporter whether he felt his party’s violent rhetoric about Planned Parenthood could have led to the shooting, Cruz did some of the most surreal spindoctoring in American political history. No, it was the “left” that was to blame for everything, he suggested.
“Well I think there has been some vicious rhetoric on the left blaming those who are pro-life.” He later added: “This murder that occurred in Colorado is tragic, it is a criminal act we don’t fully know the motivations of this deranged individual, we know that he was a man who was registered to vote as a woman and the media promptly wants to blame him on the pro-life movement when at this point there is very little evidence to indicate that.”
To be clear there is a LOT of evidence to indicate that the killer was inspired by the pro-life movement. For one thing, he took a high-powered rifle and walked into a Planned Parenthood full of innocent strangers and started shooting. For another, he literally told the police afterwards that he did it so there would be “no more baby parts.”
Cruz wasn’t done demonstrating that he was grasping at straws. When the reporter noted all of the above evidence, Cruz went all-in with his “this was a transgender leftist” defense.
“Well it is also reported that he was registered as an independent and as a woman and a transgendered leftist activist if thats what he is…um…I don’t think it is fair to blame on the rhetoric on the left this is a murderer.”
Setting aside the fact that Cruz’s own brain seemed to shut down midway through that thought, his “reports” that the killer, identified as Robert Lewis Dear Jr., was a transgendered leftist are based on an internet rumor started by a conservative blogger named Jim Hoft who is known by many as the “dumbest man on the internet.” It’s a title he has repeatedly proved he deserves with an ever-growing series of baseless lies he writes from his right-wing conspiracy website. Ted Cruz is apparently Hoft’s biggest, and perhaps only, fan.
Not pictured below: A “transgendered leftist activist.”
Suspect confirmed as Robert L. Dear date of birth of 4/16/1958 pic.twitter.com/4v2GtIsUgT
— Springs Police (@CSPDPIO) November 28, 2015
The rumor about Dear’s sexual identity began because internet sleuths noticed that a voter registration card bearing his name listed his gender as “female.” Was it just a typo? Probably. But from that evidence alone, conservatives concluded that the person was transgender and also a leftist (?) and proceeded to run with it. The rumor was debunked almost immediately when acquaintances of Dear were tracked down and not one mentioned him being anything but a violent, disturbed man. Some did remember him being firmly anti-Obama though.
Zigmond Post, who told BuzzFeed News he was a neighbor of Dear’s in Hartsel, said the man once gave him anti-Obama pamphlets.
Post said he once went to Dear’s home to retrieve two dogs that had gotten loose. “We were there for a minute and the guy was already handing us anti-Obama pamphlets,” he said. According to Post, Dear said “Obama was ruining the country and needed to be impeached.”
So we reach a very puzzling existential question: If Ted Cruz has no problem gobbling up everything the Dumbest Man on the Internet writes, is he therefore dumber than the Dumbest Man himself?
I’ll leave you to ponder it.
Feature image via Gage Skidmore/Flickr