Donald Trump and arch-rival Ted Cruz are now in a stand-off over their wives.
Trump fired off a tweet Tuesday night over a pro-Cruz ad that ran in Utah and showed a nude Melania Trump on a fur rug from a GQ shoot taken from her modeling days. It mocked her by saying “your new first lady” and suggests voting for Cruz instead.
Trump posted a tweet and said “Be careful, Lyin' Ted, or I will spill the beans on your wife!” He had earlier posted and deleted a similar tweet but enhanced it with his favorite description of the Texas senator as “lyin’ Ted.”
Melania Trump, 45, was a fashion “super” model who met Trump in the late 1990s and married him in 2005. The photo was part of a photo shoot for British GQ published in 2000.
Cruz responded shortly after that, saying “Pic of your wife not from us.” and calls him a “coward” if he attacks Heidi Cruz and #classless.
Heidi Cruz responded to the Twitter flap during a campaign stop in Wisconsin. "I have one job on this campaign, and that is to be helping Ted win this race and it is, I think the easiest job in the world because all I have to do is speak the truth," she told reporters. "You probably know by now that most of the things Donald Trump says have no basis in reality. So we are not worried in the least. We're focusing on our campaign, and we are going to continue to do that."
She stressed that outside groups produce ads that the Cruz campaign has no control over. Super PACs, which emerged after a 2010 court ruling, may raise unlimited amounts of money in support of a candidate or a cause but by law must operate independently of a campaign.
It was not clear what Trump was referring to though both Ted Cruz and Heidi Cruz have spoken about a period when she was depressed early in their marriage. There was a police report in Austin in 2005 about how she was sitting by a busy highway and the officer determined she “was a danger to herself.”
Heidi Cruz, 43, who holds an MBA from Harvard University, is a Goldman Sachs executive in wealth management currently on leave to campaign for her husband.
The superPac which posted the Facebook ad is Make America Awesome, run by controversial GOP strategist Liz Mair. The Utah GOP caucuses, which voted Tuesday, are dominated by conservative Mormons. Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, who is Mormon said he was voting for Cruz in the caucuses and urged others to do so to defeat Trump.
Cruz overwhelmingly won Utah with 69.2 percent of the vote, earning 40 additional delegates.
This story has been updated with comments from Heidi Cruz.