Amanda Carpenter: No, I didn't have an affair with Ted Cruz

Neither she nor Jake Tapper wanted to do this interview just like I didn’t want to write this post, and all for the same reason — namely, there’s no way to address ratf*cking without participating in it. To deny an accusation publicly is to spread it; outlets like the Enquirer count on that to insulate them from lawsuits. If you’re Justice Scalia’s kids, what should you do when your late father’s accused of hiring a prostitute who did him in via lethal injection? Sue and inadvertently publicize the Enquirer’s story or grit your teeth and wait for it to go away?

Carpenter, a CNN contributor and a alum, couldn’t wait any longer, and one reason she couldn’t wait is because Trump’s own social media director, Dan Scavino, has been helping to circulate the rumors that she had an affair with Cruz. What she’s been through in the days since the Enquirer stuck a barely pixelated photo of her in its story about Cruz’s alleged liaisons is worse than what Michelle Fields has been through, I think, for the simple reason that it’s based on pure innuendo. There’s no video of anyone grabbing anyone to analyze. There are no eyewitnesses claiming they personally saw malfeasance, as there was with the WaPo reporter who saw Corey Lewandowski grab Fields. There’ll be no vindication for Carpenter because there’s no evidence at all. She’s a young woman, she used to work for Cruz as his communications director, ergo affair. Trump fans searching for “proof” have taken to picking through her Twitter feed and social-media pics looking for anything they can conceivably spin up into an appearance of impropriety. See Patterico for a few examples. (Or see this, which beggars belief.) One involves a tweet she sent the day after the Washington Post’s editorial cartoonist attacked Cruz’s kids, depicting them as organ-grinder monkeys for his campaign. Cruz and his staff were justifiably angry. “Daddy Cruz is coming to get you Washington Post,” Carpenter tweeted. Trumpers found that, tore it out of context, and are citing “Daddy” now as some sort of romantic/sexual term of endearment that Carpenter was using for her boyfriend on the side. Same goes for “matching” Churchill tattoos that Cruz and Carpenter displayed. The date of that was … April 1, 2014, April Fool’s Day. It was an office-wide gag, per Carpenter. To Trumpers, it’s a shared symbol of affection between two lovers. (The tattoo thing is what Scavino tweeted out.) To repeat for the third time this week: You’ll never talk someone out of believing something they really want to believe.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. This is a mother of two young kids being called a whore on Twitter morning, noon, and night because she was named in a tabloid story as a politician’s mistress with no proof whatsoever. If the same charge were thrown at Melania or Ivanka Trump with the same amount of evidence, Trump fans would be ready for war with the accuser. Carpenter can’t disprove the claim because no one can disprove an allegation of adultery; no one can substantiate one’s whereabouts at all times. All she can do is subject herself to this and put her side of the story out there, even though the other “side” consists of … nothing. You know what Carpenter’s really guilty of? She’s guilty of partiality to Cruz the politician, which has made her a frequent Trump critic on TV and in print. That’s what she’s paying for here, not any “affair.” The rumor is a pretext to punish her for her real sin, which is being anti-Trump. Watch Tapper, his frustration palpable, in the second clip below press Trump advisor Sarah Huckabee on whether she’s ashamed that a member of Trump’s campaign is pushing this Alinskyite attack on Carpenter. Answer: Nope, not really. It’s “the process” that’s shameful.

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