Donald Trump releases epic statement after Ted Cruz accuses him of planting National Enquirer story

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Ted Cruz Blames Tabloids on Trump's "Henchmen"

Sen. Ted Cruz lambasted Donald Trump on Friday in a scathing Facebook post that accused the GOP presidential frontrunner and his "henchmen" of planting a false story about him in the National Enquirer.

Trump released a tongue-in-cheek statement Friday afternoon that referenced O.J. Simpson, said the National Enquirer was often right, and expressed "hope" that the supermarket tabloid was "not right about Lyin' Ted Cruz."

Earlier in the week, the National Enquirer released a story that strongly implied Cruz engaged in extramarital affairs with five women. The supermarket tabloid's story became a social-media firestorm on Friday.

"I want to be crystal clear: These attacks are garbage," Cruz wrote on Facebook in response.

"For Donald J. Trump to enlist his friends at the National Enquirer and his political henchmen to do his bidding shows you that there is no low Donald won't go."

He continued:

These smears are completely false, they're offensive to Heidi and me, they're offensive to our daughters, and they're offensive to everyone Donald continues to personally attack. Donald Trump's consistently disgraceful behavior is beneath the office we are seeking and we are not going to follow.

Minutes before Cruz released his statement, a Cruz campaign official tweeted a letter Trump wrote for the National Enquirer last August. New York magazine reported that Trump and the National Enquirer's CEO David Pecker have been friends for years and are "very close."

"Well let me be clear: Donald Trump may be a rat, but I have no desire to copulate with him," Cruz told reporters. "And this garbage has no place in politics."

Trump issued the following statement in response:

I have no idea whether or not the cover story about Ted Cruz in this week's issue of the National Enquirer is true or not, but I had absolutely nothing to do with it, did not know about it, and have not, as yet, read it.

Likewise, I have nothing to do with the National Enquirer and unlike Lyin' Ted Cruz I do not surround myself with political hacks and henchman and then pretend total innocence. Ted Cruz's problem with the National Enquirer is his and his alone, and while they were right about O.J. Simpson, John Edwards, and many others, I certainly hope they are not right about Lyin' Ted Cruz.

I look forward to spending the week in Wisconsin, winning the Republican nomination and ultimately the Presidency in order to Make America Great Again.

Donald Trump Ted CruzEthan Miller/Getty Images

The clash is the latest blow in the increasingly scathing back and forth between the two candidates.

On Tuesday, Trump tweeted that he would "spill the beans" on Cruz's wife after a super PAC unaffiliated with Cruz published an ad featuring Trump's wife, Melania, posing nude for GQ magazine. Cruz replied back within minutes. He insisted that the ad did not come from his camp and called Trump a "coward" for attacking his wife.

On Wednesday, Cruz said on "Good Morning America" that his wife "is way out of his league. If he wants to get in a character fight, he should stick with me."

Trump then shot back at Cruz again.

Late Wednesday night, Trump tweeted out someone else's photo that depicted Heidi Cruz with an unflattering scowl. Next to that image was a more flattering photo of Melania Trump.

The post's text, which Donald Trump blasted out to his 7 million followers, said: "A picture is worth a thousand words."

Cruz responded to that provocation by calling Trump a "sniveling coward" to a gaggle of reporters on Thursday, adding that Trump has problems with "strong women."

"It's the action of a small and petty man who is intimidated by strong women," he said. "Real men don't do that and Donald is indicating the fear that keeps him up at night when he lashes out in anger. Donald should stick with attacking me because Heidi is way out of Donald Trump's league."

Trump responded Thursday night on Twitter:

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Donald Trump releases epic statement after Ted Cruz accuses him of planting National Enquirer story
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC - JANUARY 14: Republican presidential candidates (L-R) Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) participate in the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate at the North Charleston Coliseum and Performing Arts Center on January 14, 2016 in North Charleston, South Carolina. The sixth Republican debate is held in two parts, one main debate for the top seven candidates, and another for three other candidates lower in the current polls. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump speaks with the moderators as Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, looks on during the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate at the North Charleston Coliseum, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump, left, speaks as Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks during the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate at the North Charleston Coliseum, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks as Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., left, and Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump gestures during the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate at the North Charleston Coliseum, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump speaks as Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, looks on during the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate at the North Charleston Coliseum, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, right, speaks as Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump looks on during the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate at the North Charleston Coliseum, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)
Republican Presidential candidate businessman Donald Trump (L) speaks next to Texas Senator Ted Cruz during the Republican Presidential debate sponsored by Fox Business and the Republican National Committee at the North Charleston Coliseum and Performing Arts Center in Charleston, South Carolina on January 14, 2016. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC - JANUARY 14: Republican presidential candidates (L-R) Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) participate in the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate at the North Charleston Coliseum and Performing Arts Center on January 14, 2016 in North Charleston, South Carolina. The sixth Republican debate is held in two parts, one main debate for the top seven candidates, and another for three other candidates lower in the current polls. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
2016 Republican presidential candidates, from left, Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc., and Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, arrive for the Republican presidential candidate debate at the North Charleston Coliseum in North Charleston, South Carolina, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. The sixth Republican debate comes at a time with less than three weeks before Iowa caucus-goers cast the first votes of the 2016 presidential election on February 1. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 15: Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump (L) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), interact at the conclusion of the CNN republican presidential debate at The Venetian Las Vegas on December 15, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Thirteen Republican presidential candidates are participating in the fifth set of Republican presidential debates. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Ted Cruz, right, makes a point as Donald Trump reacts during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Venetian Hotel & Casino on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 15: Republican presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks during the CNN Republican presidential debate on December 15, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is the last GOP debate of the year, with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) gaining in the polls in Iowa and other early voting states and Donald Trump rising in national polls. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate businessman Donald Trump (L) pat the back of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz during the Republican Presidential Debate, hosted by CNN, at The Venetian Las Vegas on December 15, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. AFP PHOTO/ ROBYN BECK / AFP / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Donald Trump, left, and Ted Cruz joke about remarks Cruz has made about Trump's temperament during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Venetian Hotel & Casino on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
MILWAUKEE, WI - NOVEMBER 10: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (L) and Ben Carson (C) looks on as U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks during the Republican Presidential Debate sponsored by Fox Business and the Wall Street Journal at the Milwaukee Theatre on November 10, 2015 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The fourth Republican debate is held in two parts, one main debate for the top eight candidates, and another for four other candidates lower in the current polls. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Donald Trump, left, and Ted Cruz shakes hands at the start of the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Venetian Hotel & Casino on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
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