After @tedcruz liked a porn tweet, Sen. Ted Cruz blamed ‘a staffing issue’

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) says that “a staffing issue” led to his official Twitter account “liking” a pornographic image overnight.

Cruz told reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday morning that “there are a number of people on the team who have access to the account. It appears that someone inadvertently hit the ‘like’ button and when we discovered the post, which was I guess an hour or two later, we pulled it down.”

“It was a staffing issue and it was inadvertent, it was a mistake, it was not a deliberate action,” he said, adding later: “We’re dealing with it internally but it was a mistake, it was not malicious conduct.”

Cruz would not say who the staffer was and what kind of discipline the person might face, and it is “still being discussed” whether that person still has access to his Twitter account.

He also tried to make light of the issue.

“This was not how I envisioned waking up this morning,” he said. “Although, I will say that if I had known that this would trend so quickly, that perhaps we should have posted something like this during the Indiana primary.”

Cruz unsuccessfully ran for president in 2016.

Cruz has watched porn on the Internet. We know this for a certainty — regardless of whether he did so again last night, at approximately 12:39 a.m. Eastern time, when a clip of the actress Cory Chase and her fictitious nude stepdaughter and a very energetic young man somehow ended up in the senator’s Twitter stream.

More on that in a minute.

We know Cruz has viewed porn because he told us so in his book, “A Time for Truth: Reigniting the Promise of America.”

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It was all very proper, of course.

Cruz was a 26-year-old Supreme Court law clerk at the time. The justices were deciding whether Internet porn should be regulated, and some first decided they needed to see the stuff for themselves, and so young Cruz got an eyeful.

“As we watched these graphic pictures fill our screens, wide-eyed, no one said a word,” he wrote. “Except for Justice O’Connor, who lowered her head, squinted slightly, and muttered, ‘Oh, my.’ ”

Which is exactly the same thing @KieraGorden said 20-some years later, in the small hours of Tuesday morning, when she and what seems like half the conscious population of Twitter discovered that @tedcruz had just clicked “like” beneath that clip of Chase and “family” and sweaty male friend.

“OH MY.”

The clip disappeared from Cruz’s Twitter page after about an hour, during which time everyone from Jimmy Kimmel to Pornhub got a crack in.

“The offensive tweet posted on @tedcruz account earlier has been removed by staff and reported to Twitter,” the senator’s spokeswoman Catherine Frazier wrote on her own account, a little after 2 a.m.

But that only raised more questions, including: Reported the tweet for what?

And “removed?” Did the spokeswoman mean that someone in Cruz’s office had logged into his account and un-clicked the little red heart beneath the porn that someone had clicked earlier that night, causing it to finally disappear from his page?

And most urgently, as Cruz’s name trended to the top of Twitter on Monday morning: Who clicked the heart?

The unanswered questions didn’t stop countless people online from assuming — with many assuming the mystery liker was Cruz himself.

“Everyone on twitter after 1 a.m. on a Monday knows exactly how this whole thing works,” one wag wrote. “You’re foolin’ nobody.”

Quipped another: “Liking a porn tweet is by far the least offensive, most normal thing Ted Cruz has ever done.”

Prurience hasn’t been a major staple of Cruz’s political campaigns over the years. But he has intersected with public sexuality a few times.

As the solicitor general for the state of Texas in 2004, Mother Jones reported, Cruz’s legal team tried to defend a law banning the sale of sex toys.

His legal team drafted a 76-page brief that argued that the government had an interest in discouraging “autonomous sex,” Mother Jones wrote — and “there is no substantive-due-process right to stimulate one’s genitals for nonmedical purposes unrelated to procreation or outside of an interpersonal relationship.”

When he was running for president in the Republican Primary last year, Cruz’s campaign inadvertently cast a former soft-core porn actress in an ad attacking his rival, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

The campaign killed the ad after discovering Amy Lindsay’s film history, and the actress protested that she worked mainstream roles along with the occasional erotic film.

“You guys have all painted me as this big porn star, which I am not,” she told The Post at the time.

On Tuesday, after calling the “like” heard ’round Washington a “staffing issue” and insisting that “it was inadvertent,” Cruz was asked by reporters, for a second time, if he had pressed the heart button on the offending tweet.

“No,” he said quietly as he walked away.

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