Senators Ben Sasse and Ted Cruz have exchanged lighthearted banter on Twitter, after one of those men became the victim of a regrettably spilled Dr Pepper.
Referencing the mock conspiracy theory that Mr Cruz’s father had assassinated President John F Kennedy in the 1960s, Mr Sasse tweeted a humorous response to a Twitter user after he was forced to apologize to Mr Cruz for spilling his Dr Pepper on him during a Congressional hearing.
“If I were sitting with the son of the guy who killed Kennedy, I might do worse than spill some Dr Pepper,” user Neil Hansen wrote in a response to Mr Sasse’s refusal to confirm that the spillage was accidental.
“Full disclosure: I was wearing my ‘Lee Harvey Oswald Was Framed’ t-shirt,” Mr Sasse replied, referring to the man who actually killed President Kennedy.
Mr Cruz, who has joked about the many hoaxes that have sprung up surrounding his political persona, responded in kind. The Texas senator has been accused by internet trolls before of being the Zodiac killer — a serial killer who was never captured and sent cryptic clues to investigators about his crimes — so he replied to Mr Sasse with a Zodiac-killer-style photo.
That particular meme started all the way back in 2013, much before the 2016 election in which Mr Cruz ran for the Republican presidential nominee. As with many memes, it joke started small — with a single Twitter post — and ultimately snowballed. The joke later showed up during a Republican presidential debate as a popular Google search related to the election, after an online community mobilized to repeatedly search the phrase “Is Ted Cruz the Zodiac killer?”
The hoax that Mr Cruz’s father was involved with the Kennedy assassination were made famous by Donald Trump, who referenced a National Enquirer cover that showed the senior Mr Cruz pictured with Lee Harvey Oswald handing out fliers in New Orleans in 1963.
Mr Trump fanned those flames just after his 2016 Republican National Convention, in which Mr Cruz refused to publicly endorse him for president.
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies