Is Texas senator and former candidate for the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential nomination Ted Cruz the Zodiac Killer? The question lingers in the minds of the American people, but today we must gather to discuss his involvement in a crime that took place on Twitter. Here’s what we know:
The victim: “Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer” meme
The evidence: In 2013, a theory began circulating online that Ted Cruz may, in fact, be the unmasked Zodiac Killer — a mass murderer whose identity has long remained a mystery. The rumor picked up steam leading up to the 2016 election; alleged evidence for this claim is bountiful. The Verge walked through the theory at length ahead of the election.
- Cruz himself has never denied these claims. In May, his wife Heidi went to bat for him, telling Yahoo News that it’s “amazing” how many people have been swayed by the rumor. “Well, I’ve been married to him for 15 years, and I know pretty well who he is, so it doesn’t bother me at all,” she said. “There’s a lot of garbage out there.” Which is not directly denying the rumors either, but instead implying she’s totally cool with it. I guess that’s true love.
- Recently, during the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Sen. Ben Sasse, (R-NE), reportedly spilled Dr. Pepper on Cruz. Sasse later apologized for the disruption.
- At 1PM, Cruz’s Twitter account posted a photo of a Dr. Pepper-filled fridge and declared Sasse “cut off.”
- At 1:52PM, Cruz followed up his previous Sasse mention with a direct tweet to the senator. It included no words, just an image Google refers to as “best guess for this image: zodiac killer letters.” It certainly does match the very specific, coded letters we know to be sent from the killer, and has the killer’s symbol-signature.
- Cruz is not funny or good at jokes, though humorous things often happen around him. Like when his account liked a porn tweet.
The outcome: The murder of a beloved meme, revived by a government official as a thinly veiled, presumably humorous threat against another government official.
Is all this evidence circumstantial? I’ve only ever heard that term used in crime dramas, so I don’t actually know. As one of my colleagues so poignantly observed, “the ‘Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer’ meme caught fire bc everyone believes that Ted Cruz is loathsome enough to murder people.” Cruz, he says, is therefore leaning into this joke about him being a bloodthirsty psychopath. Would anyone else besides the real Zodiac Killer do this? I cannot say for sure. But by the powers vested in me by no one in particular, I’m issuing a ruling.
The verdict: Ted Cruz is guilty of the death of the “Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer” meme.