The Republican Party does not like porn.
At its national convention last summer, the GOP passed a draft platform provision declaring, “Pornography, with its harmful effects, especially on children, has become a public health crisis that is destroying the life of millions.”
And yet, as just about everyone with internet access is now aware, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican presidential candidate in 2016, appeared to have liked a pornographic video on Twitter overnight. Of course, it’s a little more complicated than that. We don’t know for sure it was Cruz himself who did the “liking” – as the senator explained this morning, “There are a number of people on the team that have access to the account and it appears that someone inadvertently hit the like button.”
The “like” is now gone. But the memory will linger, yet another headline that somehow brought together the conservative lawmaker and some especially adult entertainment.
In February 2016, during the Republican primary season, the Cruz campaign posted a web video featuring an actress who had appeared in erotic films. The ad, targeting Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, was pulled offline when interested parties began combing through Amy Lindsay’s IMDb page and finding titles like “Bad Bizness” and “Insatiable Desires.”
“It happened that one of the actresses who was there had a more colorful film history than we were aware,” Cruz told reporters on the trail. “We would not have cast her had we known of that history.”
Cruz did not appear in the scrubbed campaign clip, but he has spoken – and written – at some length about another unlikely run-in with the adult film industry.
Specifically, the time he and (since retired) Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor watched porn together.
This was years ago, when Cruz was a clerk on the high court for the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist. As Cruz recalled it in his memoir, O’Connor, Rehnquist, and their respective clerks gathered for an exhibition – as it related to a case they were considering on the regulation of online porn – in a small room. This is how the senator described the scene:
“Here I was, a 26-year-old man looking at explicit porn with Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who was standing alongside the colleague (my boss) she had once dated in law school. As we watched these graphic pictures fill our screens, wide-eyed, no one said a word. Except for Justice O’Connor, who lowered her head, squinted slightly, and muttered, ‘Oh, my.’”
Want to hear more? Below Cruz discusses the scene (that is, the one inside the court) with CNN’s Jake Tapper.
But that conversation, and others surrounding his book, didn’t come close to being the first time Cruz happily discussed pornography on camera. That happened way back when he was in high school.
Asked by some unknown interviewer about his life’s ambitions, the young Cruz pauses for effect, then announces: “Well my aspiration is to, oh I don’t know, be in a teen tit film like that guy who played Horatio. You know he was in Malibu Bikini Beach Shop.” (Politico guessed Cruz was referencing 1986’s The Malibu Bikini Shop.)
Cruz’s talents would send him in other directions.
But, as it turned out, never too far away.