Nude-ad feud escalates as Ted Cruz calls Donald Trump a ‘sniveling coward’

Sen. Ted Cruz, incensed by Donald Trump‘s attack on his wife via Twitter, lashed out at the reality-TV mogul and Republican front-runner on Thursday, calling him a “sniveling coward,” and telling him to leave his wife “the hell alone.”

“It’s not easy to tick me off. I don’t get angry often,” Cruz told reporters in Wisconsin. “But you mess with my wife, you mess with my kids, that’ll do it every time. Donald you are a sniveling coward, and leave Heidi the hell alone.”

Cruz said that spouses and children are “off bounds,” and that it was unacceptable for “a big loud New York bully to attack my wife.”

Trump shared on Wednesday night an image of both of the candidates’ wives side by side. The image read: “No need to ‘spill the beans.’ The images are worth a thousand words.”

The photograph of Heidi Cruz captures her making an awkward facial expression; by comparison, the photo of Melania Trump appears to be a professional headshot.

CNN anchor Kate Bolduan questioned Trump’s senior policy adviser, Stephen Miller, about the tweet on Thursday. Miller laughed and said “the retweet speaks for itself.” Despite Miller’s use of the term, the photograph was, in fact, manually tweeted from Trump’s account, and not a “retweet.”

The spousal feud started on Tuesday after Trump, who has become infamous for offensive tweets, including those which directly reflect the views of white supremacists, threatened Cruz over an online ad supporting the Texas senator. 

After an anti-Trump super PAC apparently used a photo of Melania Trump in a Facebook advertisement, Trump warned the Texas senator to “be careful” or he would “spill the beans” on his wife, Heidi Cruz.

“Paid for by Make America Awesome. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee.”

The photograph was taken in January 2000, when the Slovenian former model, then Melania Knauss, posed for a GQ magazine cover story. Knauss and Trump were dating at the time.

Cruz responded to Trump’s threat on Twitter by asserting his campaign had nothing to do with the ad—election law prohibits his campaign from interacting with a super PAC—adding: “Donald, if you try to attack Heidi, you’re more of a coward than I thought.”

Photo via Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Dell Cameron

Dell Cameron

Dell Cameron was a reporter at the Daily Dot who covered security and politics. In 2015, he revealed the existence of an American hacker on the U.S. government's terrorist watchlist. He is a co-author of the Sabu Files, an award-nominated investigation into the FBI's use of cyber-informants. He became a staff writer at Gizmodo in 2017.