The campaign for Sen. Ted Cruz and one of its PACs are attacking rival Donald Trump for his allegiance to former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, who was convicted of rape in Indiana, which holds a primary Tuesday.
The Trusted Leadership PAC has released an online video pointing out that Trump said Tyson, a Trump supporter, was “railroaded” in the 1991 conviction.
“One of the leaders in the effort to keep Tyson out of prison is Donald Trump,” a TV news-reader is heard saying in the 30-second video, over archived moving and still pictures of Trump, including one of him beside Tyson.
Trump argued at the time, and replayed in the PAC ad, that the female victim, a teen beauty pageant contestant, was seen dancing with Tyson and willingly went to his Indianapolis hotel room.
The front-running Trump seemed to spark the pro-Cruz attacks by unexpectedly saying this week that “Iron Mike” had tweeted an endorsement and “All of the tough guys endorse me.”
On Friday, Cruz told reporters in Indiana: “I’ve got news for Donald Trump: Rapists are not tough guys.”
That same day, Carly Fiorina, Cruz’s newly announced running mate and a former 2016 GOP presidential candidate, also blasted Trump.
“Sorry, I don’t consider a convicted rapist a tough guy,” she said, according to Politico.
Trump leads Cruz in the delegate count 996-to-565, on the way toward getting 1,237 to secure the nomination before the GOP’s nominating convention in July. Trump convincingly won New York earlier this month, then on Tuesday won big in all five Northeast states holding primaries.
Indiana is being considered by many, including Cruz, as the Texas senator’s last chance to stop Trump’s run to the nomination. Ohio GOP Gov. John Kasich trails Trump and Cruz, with 153 delegates.
On Thursday, Greg Garrison who prosecuted Tyson, questioned on his conservative talk radio show, why Trump’s handlers would allow him to make such a comment.
“Tough is one thing, a serial rapist is quite something else,” Garrison also said.
The PAC reportedly spent $375,000 for the online ad buy, which also features the now-retired Tyson recently saying: “I like Trump, yeah. He should be president.