Ted Cruz is such a gentleman that he calls his enemies rodent-copulators.

Cruz is understandably incensed about The National Enquirer report that he’s had multiple extra-marital affairs. In zeroing in on the problems of the report, he cagily called attention to the fact that the only on-the-record source is Roger Stone, Jr., a former Trump adviser who has been a notorious practitioner of dirty-tricks politics since the Nixon administration. But Cruz’s way of characterizing Stone was curious. “He’s a man whom a term was coined for copulating with a rodent,” Cruz said. “Well let me be clear, Donald Trump may be a rat but I have no desire to copulate with him.”

Cruz’s words only make sense if we understand that Stone is famous for ratfucking, a term of art in politics for doing dirty tricks on your opponents. The term ratfucking, possibly of military origins, entered politics via the Nixon administration.