Fact-checking Ted Cruz
Donald Trump won a decisive victory in the Indiana primary on May 3, and that has prompted Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to suspend his 2016 presidential campaign.
Here is a snapshot of Cruz’s Truth-O-Meter scorecard on the night he pulled out. (See the current state of his scorecard, which updates automatically as we publish new fact-checks.)
Here at PolitiFact, we’ve been fact-checking Cruz since 2011, when he ran against an establishment favorite (then-Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst) in a primary to win the Republican Senate nomination. He won the general election in 2012 and holds the seat until 2018.
Our first fact-check of Cruz, courtesy of PolitiFact Texas, was his dramatic-for-Texas claim that Dewhurst had advocated a state income tax (which Texas doesn't have). Pants on Fire, we concluded in February 2012.
In a 2013 commentary posted by Politico, Cruz made a provocative -- and wrong -- claim about Chuck Hagel, the Republican nominated by President Barack Obama for defense secretary. Hagel's nomination, Cruz said, "has been publicly celebrated by the Iranian government."
An Iranian foreign ministry spokesman had expressed hope that with Hagel as secretary, Washington would become "respectful of the rights of nations" and if so, he said, Iran’s hatred of U.S. policies would decrease. But there was no cheering for Hagel in Tehran, we found. Pants on Fire!
We awarded another Pants on Fire for Cruz's claim that Democrats told the Catholic Church that they’ll use federal powers from the federal health care law to shut down church charities and hospitals if the church doesn’t change its beliefs.
Catholic bishops had said that potential fines resulting from refusals to carry out the contraception mandate will cause some institutions to shut down. But we found no sign of such a statement by Democrats -- or anything close.
Cruz was also the target of attacks, as was his family. On the morning of the critical Indiana primary, Trump had this to say about the Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz.
"(Cruz’s) father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald being, you know, shot. I mean the whole thing is ridiculous. What is this, right, prior to his being shot? And nobody even brings it up," Trump said on Fox and Friends. "What was he doing — what was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death? Before the shooting? It’s horrible."
But Trump's claim is unsupported and outlandish. We rated it Pants on Fire.
Interestingly, Cruz has critiqued our work and fact-checking journalism in general. It wasn’t a rating on our Truth-O-Meter, but in June 2015 PolitiFact Texas looked at Cruz's critique of fact-checking. We found flaws in his pokes, as our story notes. Still, we took his jabs as backhanded recognition that fact-checking is growing in influence.
Finally, one of our most popular stories of the election cycle has been our look at whether Cruz, who was born in Canada, was eligible to run for president. We concluded that he likely was eligible, but an element of uncertainty remained, because the Supreme Court had not weighed in on an official definition of "natural born" citizenship.