By endorsing Ted Cruz on Wednesday, Carly Fiorina joined an exclusive, or, um, interesting club—that includes conspiracy theorists, bigots and birthers.
Though Donald Trump has racked up his fair share of bizarro endorsers—think Aaron Carter, The National Enquirer, Roosh V, and every alien from the Star Wars cantina scene (I think)—Cruz has cornered the market when it comes to thought leaders of the oddest corners of movement conservatism.
The Cruz Crew includes the intellectual forebears of the birther movement, a pastor who says God sent Hitler to “hunt” Jewish people, and America’s pre-eminent bearded martial artist.
Fiorina wasn’t the only high-profile endorsement Cruz snagged this week. On March 8, Joseph Farah—the editor-in-chief of WorldNetDaily and a leading skeptic on Obama’s birthplace—directed his readers to vote Cruz.
“Cruz is principled, sophisticated and a solid conservative whose understanding of and commitment to the Constitution is unshakeable,” he wrote.
Farah isn’t the only prominent birther in Cruz’s merry band of misfits. Chuck Norris, singlehandedly responsible for the most irritating jokes of all time, also endorsed Cruz this week and has begun stumping for him. (In 2009, Norris wished Obama a happy birthday by calling on him to release his birth certificate.)
This all comes as Cruz’s rhetoric undergoes a moderate-sounding shift.
In particular, at a press conference this week, he emphasized that growing the economy would be his single-minded priority as president.
But the loving embrace with which he welcomes the far-right’s kookiest kooks could make it hard for him to persuade moderate voters that he’s just a chill dude who wants everyone to make bank.
Last month, for instance, Cruz’s campaign also celebrated a particularly interesting endorsement: that of Mike Bickle, a pastor from Kansas City, Missouri, who has said same-sex marriage means the apocalypse is nigh.
“This is a unique signal of the end times,” he said.
Bickle also has argued that legalizing same-sex marriage means second-graders will soon learn about orgies in sex ed.
“The young boy with the old man, the pedophiles all of this will end up being presented as normative, acceptable, healthy sexual patterns in the school systems, millions of children systematically taught this,” he said in one particularly fiery sermon.
Jewish groups criticized Cruz for celebrating Bickle’s endorsement after reports surfaced showing the pastor saying some untoward things about the Holocaust.
The site Right Wing Watch has a lengthy dossier of his greatest hits. Among his most curious views is that a D.C. snowstorm may have been divine punishment over abortion.
“On January 22, the Jonas storm, which also means Jonah, hit Washington, D.C.,” reads a statement he signed. “That same day the Supreme Court denied North Dakota the right to ban abortion and help women with child care.”
But among Cruz endorsers, it’s almost commonplace to believe that bad weather is divine punishment. Troy Newman, a pro-life activist and head of Operation Rescue whose endorsement the Cruz campaign touted in November, theorized last summer that abortions caused the California drought.
“Is it no wonder that California is experiencing the worst drought in history when it is the largest child-killer in all of the United States?” he said. “There are no coincidences with God.”
Australia’s Immigration Department canceled Newman’s visa when he tried to do a speaking tour there last fall. Members of the Labor Party pushing for the decision cited the fact that he co-authored a book in 2000 arguing for the execution of doctors who perform abortions “to expunge the bloodguilt from the land and the people.”
Cruz praised Newman unequivocally in November when he rolled out the endorsement.
“We need leaders like Troy Newman in this country who will stand up for those who do not have a voice,” Cruz said in a statement.
Newman co-chairs of the official “Pro-Lifers for Cruz” coalition.
Another coalition co-chair? Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin, formerly George W. Bush’s Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence. Bush publicly criticized Boykin after he suggested the War on Terror was a fight between Christians and Satan.
“Islam is evil,” he said in 2012, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. “Islam is an evil concept because it does call for innocent blood. It calls for the subjugation of women, it calls for brutality that is alien to us as Christians. So we do love the Muslim people, but the Bible also speaks of a time when men will call good evil and evil good, and we have to be sure that we are in fact calling Islam what it is, and in reality, it’s evil.”
Boykin has also speculated that there is “an entity within the Council of Foreign Relations that is very much focused on global governments—one world government.”
Cruz has expressed similar anxious sentiments about the group, once calling them “a pernicious nest of snakes.” It’s a little awkward, though, because his wife was a member of the group for five years, according to Politico.
This isn’t an exhaustive list—far from it. But together, it’s a strong indicator of the extraordinarily high comfort level Cruz has in associating himself with birthers, conspiracy theorists, anti-gay crusaders, and overall goofballs. Welcome to the club, Carly.