The senator from Texas also sharpened his attacks on Trump’s conservative credentials, linking the brash billionaire to disgraced New York politicians Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner. Cruz continued bashing Trump for making Cruz’s wife, Heidi, a target of social-media barbs.
“I have to say, seeing him go deeper and deeper into the gutter, it’s not easy to tick me off,” Cruz said at a news conference while campaigning in Dane, Wisconsin. “But you mess with my wife, you mess with my kids, it’ll do it every time.
“Donald, you’re a snivelling coward,” Cruz said. “Leave Heidi the hell alone.” Cruz’s remarks were the latest burst of hostility between the two camps, which this week erupted when Trump accused Cruz of posting a nude photo of Melania Trump on Twitter. Trump responded by threatening to “spill the beans” on Cruz’s wife, Heidi. Cruz denied having anything to do with the image which was part of an attack by anti-Trump super political action committee, Make America Awesome.
“Donald, real men don’t attack women. Your wife is lovely, and Heidi is the love of my life,” Cruz said on Twitter earlier on Thursday.
Cruz’s tweet followed one moments earlier by Trump in which he retweeted an image featuring a less-than-flattering picture of Heidi Cruz juxtaposed with a glamorous photo of Melania.
The back-and-forth was too much for Senator Lindsey Graham, a former presidential candidate, who blasted both men on NBC’s “Today” show on Thursday.
“Talk about things people really care about, and knock this crap off because these are serious times, and you’re not behaving like you want to be president,” he said.
For Trump, attacking another candidate’s wife may carry some political risk. Half of US women say they have a “very unfavorable” view of the billionaire tycoon, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling in March.