As did Lincoln, Roosevelt and Reagan in their campaigns, Donald Trump took part this week in the very presidential tradition of threatening a fellow candidate’s wife on Twitter.*
After a super PAC unrelated to Cruz published an ad using a suggestive photo of Trump’s wife, Melania, from GQ, Trump laid the blame on Cruz anyway.
“Lyin’ Ted Cruz just used a picture of Melania from a G.Q. shoot in his ad,” Trump tweeted Tuesday. “Be careful, Lyin’ Ted, or I will spill the beans on your wife!”
While it remains unclear what “beans” Trump was referring to, he posted an image on his Twitter account Wednesday another user had tweeted insulting the appearance of Cruz’s wife, Heidi Cruz:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 24, 2016
Cruz responded shortly afterward. He did not insult Trump’s wife in return:
Donald, real men don't attack women. Your wife is lovely, and Heidi is the love of my life. https://t.co/pprXhIMzUT
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 24, 2016
Later, on Thursday, Cruz called Trump “a sniveling coward” and told him to “leave Heidi the hell alone.”
Ted Cruz: 'Donald, you're a sniveling coward and leave Heidi alone.' pic.twitter.com/0V3Xd8QOGT
— POLITICO (@politico) March 24, 2016
That morning, Cruz’s campaign denounced the ad depicting Trump’s wife and stressed it had no affiliation with the super PAC Make America Awesome that created it.
“This is a sad state of affairs when we have someone who is running for president who makes derogatory and insulting comments, repeatedly, against women,” Alice Stewart, a Cruz spokeswoman, said on CNN.
Kelly, a Fox News host, weighted in on Trump’s tweet with a one-word response: “Seriously?”
— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) March 24, 2016
On Thursday, reporters asked Cruz whether he would still support Trump should the billionaire become the Republican nominee.
“I’m going to beat him,” Cruz said, according to CNN. “Donald Trump will not be the nominee.”