The Bizarre JFK Assassination Theory That Trump Believes

The assassination of President John F. Kennedy is without a doubt one of the most meticulously investigated crimes in human history. Diligent detectives both professional and amateur have pored over the details of the case for more than half a century, and still tons of bizarre things that never made sense about the JFK assassination remain. And when the truth is murky, the ground is fertile for conspiracy theories to sprout up and claim to have finally found it. As Town & Country notes, Kennedy assassination theories have run the gamut from the classic second shooter situation on the now notorious "grassy knoll" to the execution being an inside job by the very government of which Kennedy was the head honcho. There's even a theory that the job was a Mafia hit orchestrated by "Quite Don" Russell Bufalino (and it actually holds a bit more water than other hypotheses out there). 

In 2016, another JFK conspiracy theory began to take root, and it had a little help growing thanks to a man who seemed to be able to turn any rumor or harebrained thought in his head into a full-blown internet sensation complete with hordes of gullible believers. Then-presidential candidate Donald Trump made not-so-subtle implications that the father of fellow Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz had somehow been involved in the murder of JFK. True to form, Trump provided no real proof to back up another of his outrageous conspiracy theories, but his words were enough to launch the idea online.

Investigators can't confirm the Ted Cruz's dad JFK assassination theory

"You know, Cruz's father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald's being, you know, shot," Trump said during one of his countless rants on Fox News' "Fox & Friends," according to the Chicago Tribune. Despite misidentifying the name of the extremely well-known person who was notoriously killed that day in 1963, he was able to get the idea to take hold (and won the Republican nomination — just sayin') thanks to a little help from his friends over at the National Enquirer. The tabloid had run a cover story with a photo of a man it claimed was Rafael Cruz handing out flyers with Oswald on the streets of New Orleans a few months before the shooting.

The Washington Post looked into the claim and found that some circumstantial details may have backed up the notion that the man in the photo was Ted Cruz's dad. He may have lived in New Orleans at the time. There's also the fact that the man in the photo has never been identified, except by the one photo-scanning company cited by the Enquirer. But the theory hits a pretty deep pothole when it comes to what those flyers said. Oswald was passing out pro-Fidel Castro literature, a cause The New Yorker noted would not have been supported by Rafael Cruz, a Cuban emigre who opposed what Castro had done with his home country. So barring a very unlikely smoking gun, this JFK assassination theory probably won't be changing our understanding of that day anytime soon.

Cruz forgave Trump for implicating his father in the JFK assassination

In September 2016, Ted Cruz forgave Donald Trump for the slanderous things he had said about his father. According to The Texas Tribune, he also forgave the future president for the things he had said about Cruz's wife, Heidi. "I have spent several months thinking about it, praying about the right course of action, and I've discussed the right course of action with both Heidi and my dad, both of whom I love with all my heart," said Cruz. "And all three of us have decided to forgive the past, and my focus in making this decision was on trying my best to do the right thing for the country."

But Cruz's road to being the bigger man was a rough one, to say the least. The Washington Post reports that his political feud with former President Trump didn't pull any personal punches. In March 2016, Trump had threatened to "spill the beans" on Heidi Cruz, without providing any explanation as to what might be revealed by said beans. The following day he retweeted a photo criticizing Heidi's looks and implying that his own wife Melania was better-looking. Cruz's forgiveness would have been the mature response to genuine contrition on behalf of the offending party, but did Trump feel remorse for his disparaging statements, or even ask the Cruz family's forgiveness? Not really his style. "I don't regret anything," President Trump said in 2018, according to CNN. "It all worked out nicely."