The simmering rivalry between Republican frontrunner Donald Trump and Texas Senator Ted Cruz exploded this week as the candidates’ wives were dragged into the mudslinging.
The fracas began when a PAC unaffiliated with any candidate publicized racy photographs of Trump’s wife Melania. The “Make America Awesome” PAC, which is dedicated solely to preventing Donald Trump from reaching the 1,237 delegates necessary to secure the nomination, does not back either of his two remaining GOP rivals.
A picture from a GQ photo shoot in 2000 was used by the PAC ahead of Tuesday’s Utah caucus in an effort to discourage the state’s conservative caucus-goers from supporting the New York billionaire.
PACs or political action committees, are prohibited by law from coordinating their efforts with candidates or their campaigns. That did not stop Trump, however, from accusing Cruz of orchestrating the PAC’s use of his wife’s image.
“Lyin’ Ted Cruz just used a picture of Melania from a G.Q shoot in his ad.”
Trump continued with a threat directed at Cruz’s wife, Heidi.
“Be careful, Lyin’ Ted, or I will spill the beans on your wife!”
Liz Mair, head of the PAC responsible for the ads featuring Melania’s picture, stated explicitly that Cruz was not involved in the ad campaign.
Cruz blasted Trump for the threat, calling him “a coward” and “classless”.
But denials by Cruz and Mair failed to settle the matter. On Wednesday Trump brought the matter up again on Twitter.
“Lyin’ Ted Cruz denied that he had anything to do with G.Q. model photo post of Melania. That’s why we call him Lyin’ Ted!”
On Thursday Trump mocked Cruz’s wife when he retweeted a side-by-side comparison of Melania Trump with an unflattering picture of Heidi Cruz, with the text “No need to spill the beans, the images are worth a thousand words”.
Cruz responded angrily on Thursday, writing “Donald, real men don’t attack women”.
When reporters asked Cruz about the tussle, the Texas Senator called Trump was visibly upset.
“Donald, you’re a sniveling coward. Leave Heidi the hell alone.”