Hannity Encourages Trump’s JFK-Cruz Theory

Appearing on Sean Hannity’s radio show Tuesday afternoon, Donald Trump repeated the (completely unsubstantiated and fringe) conspiracy theory that Sen. Ted Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, was with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

The National Enquirer—a supermarket tabloid with close ties to Trump, openly supporting his 2016 campaign—recently published a report suggesting the elder Cruz was in New Orleans passing out pro-Castro pamphlets with Oswald.

"There was a picture a few weeks ago, and it was all over the place, about Lee Harvey Oswald and his father," Trump told Hannity.

"Was that verified ever? I saw that there was something on the Internet," the Fox News host credulously responded.

"It was a picture put in and [the Enquirer] wouldn't put it in if they could be sued, that I can tell you," the GOP presidential frontrunner asserted. "Ted Cruz, I don't think denied it…[and] if that were true, what was [Rafael] doing having breakfast...three months before the JFK assassination?"

“I have seen it, but I never thought it was going anywhere,” Hannity meekly said later. “I don't know the truth, the veracity of it.”

When asked by The Daily Beast if he would comment further—and if he felt not pushing back harder bolstered criticism that he is too deferential to Trump—Hannity simply emailed: “I was saying that photo was not verified.”

Asked if he believed the Enquirer (which has long been famous for printing unsubstantiated gossip and wild stories) is a reliable news outlet, the talk-radio host said, “If [you] want to interview me, contact Fox PR."

Hannity subsequently emailed The Daily Beast, "So is the picture authentic or not? You don't have a clue either. Lol."

Trump had previously promoted the bizarre conspiracy theory earlier that day on Fox & Friends. “What was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death? Before the shooting? It’s horrible,” Trump said Tuesday morning. Fox News host Brian Kilmeade muttered that the Enquirer story was unverified, but much like Hannity, did not correct or push back against his guest's assertion.

—Asawin Suebsaeng