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Cruz says Colorado shooter may be 'transgendered leftist'
01:18 - Source: CNN

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Cruz says "very little evidence to indicate" Planned Parenthood shooting tied to anti-abortion rhetoric

The GOP presidential candidate declines to label the attack "domestic terrorism"

CNN  — 

Ted Cruz is condemning the deadly shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic, but is refusing to blame the attack on the anti-abortion rhetoric that has consumed stretches of the Republican primary campaign.

Speaking about the alleged gunman, Robert Lewis Dear, at a campaign event in Iowa on Sunday, Cruz accused the media of wanting “to blame him on the pro-life movement when at this point there’s very little evidence to indicate that.” Audio of the comments was posted online by The Texas Tribune.

When a reporter told Cruz that the suspect in the Colorado Springs killings is alleged to have mentioned “baby parts” after his arrest, the Texas senator responded, “Well, it’s also been reported that he was registered as an independent and a woman and transgendered leftist activist, if that’s what he is.”

Cruz was likely citing a report from The Gateway Pundit, a right-wing blog, that uncovered a Colorado state voter registration form which lists Dear’s gender as female.

The term “transgendered” is considered offensive by the LGBT community. The appropriate usage when describing an individual, as explained by National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, is “transgender person,” “transgender man” or “transgender woman.”

A spokesperson for the Cruz campaign told Buzzfeed that the candidate was not suggesting anything in particular about the alleged killer’s identity, and only made reference to the report in order “to make the point that we don’t know all the details.”

The Cruz campaign did not have any immediate comment to CNN.

Asked by another reporter if he would describe the attack an act of “domestic terrorism,” as former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee did earlier in the day in an interview with CNN’s Brianna Keilar on “State of the Union,” Cruz declined.

“I would call it a murder, and we’ll see what the facts are,” Cruz said. “It was a multiple murder of what appears to be a deranged individual.”