Presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) condemned the recent fatal shooting of three people at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Friday, but rejected the idea that the shooter was part of the anti-abortion movement or was somehow motivated by recent political rhetoric criticizing Planned Parenthood.
Rather, Cruz sought to attack the political Left and the media for even suggesting that the shooter — 57-year-old Robert Lewis Dear — was in any way connected to either the pro-life movement or the Republican Party, reports The Texas Tribune.
When asked by a reporter about details of Dear’s arrest, where the accused shooter spoke of “no more baby parts” in a rambling interview with police, Cruz responded: “It’s also been reported that he was registered as an independent and a woman and a transgendered leftist activist. If that’s what he is, I don’t think it’s fair to blame the rhetoric on the left. This is a murderer.”
Cruz added: “The media promptly wants to blame him on the pro-life movement when at this point there’s very little evidence to indicate that.”
Cruz’s assertion that Dear was transgender appears to be based on a discrepancy in his voter registration file that lists him as a woman. The discrepancy was first reported by right-wing website The Gateway Pundit, which ran with the claim that Dear “identifies as [a] woman.” Since then, numerous other right-wing blogs have begun trumpeting that Dear is transgender, as documented by both the left-leaning website Think Progress and the anti-misogynist blog “We Hunted the Mammoth,” which documents the actions and rhetoric of the newest iterations of the anti-feminist movement.
Campaign aides for Cruz later told The New York Times that the senator was not saying that the gunman was definitely a “transgender leftist activist,” but was merely trying to illustrate a point about how little information was known about Dear.
“He was making the point that there isn’t enough information,” said campaign spokesman Rick Tyler. “You can’t expect a full response to a story that’s developing. The point was there’s a lot of raw information going around that’s not confirmed.”
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