Earlier this week, an anti-Trump super-pac warned Mormon voters in Utah that Melania Trump is not qualified to be First Lady because she once posed nude for a GQ profile. The GOP front-runner responded by threatening, on Twitter, to “spill the beans” on Ted Cruz’s wife. Cruz explained that he was not behind the ad and did not approve of it, but that he would appreciate it if the Donald stopped blackmailing his spouse. Trump then retweeted this charming image.
On Thursday, Cruz shared his thoughts on this turn in the discourse with CNN.
“I don’t get angry often, but you mess with my wife, you mess with my kids? That’ll do it every time,” Cruz said. “Donald, you’re a sniveling coward and leave Heidi the hell alone.”
Asked whether he could still support Trump if he becomes the nominee, Cruz replied, “I’m going to beat him. Donald Trump will not be the nominee. Donald Trump will not be the nominee.”
The bromance between “lying Ted” and con-man Don ended a long time ago. But now that Trump has effectively told Cruz, “Your ugly wife has a lot to hide,” the conflict between the GOP’s two leading candidates has entered a new, grotesque phase. Polling suggests that most Cruz voters consider Trump their second choice. If that changes, the implications could prove significant. For the moment, most Republican voters believe that if Trump goes into the convention with a plurality of delegates – as he almost certainly will – then he should receive the party’s nomination. Should a significant portion of Cruz’s supporters convert to #NeverTrumpism, the party pooh-bahs would have a greater mandate to thwart the Donald in Cleveland.
Of course, it’s also possible that Trump will clinch the nomination ahead of the convention – or that the GOP primary will be settled with pistols at dawn.