Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump threatened to "spill the beans" on the wife of rival GOP presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas on March 22.
According to Mediaite, Trump tweeted and quickly deleted, "Wow @TedCruz, that is some low level ad you did using a picture Melania in a G.Q. photo shoot. Be careful or I will spill the beans on your wife."
Trump later tweeted: "Lyin' Ted Cruz just used a picture of Melania from a G.Q. shoot in his ad. Be careful, Lyin' Ted, or I will spill the beans on your wife!"
Cruz responded to Trump's tweet with: "Pic of your wife not from us. Donald, if you try to attack Heidi, you're more of a coward than I thought. #classless."
Trump was apparently referring to an online campaign meme created by the super PAC Make America Awesome that showed Melania Trump lying mostly nude for a GQ magazine cover with the caption: “Meet Melania Trump, Your Next First Lady. Or, You Could Support Ted Cruz on Tuesday.”
The ad was marketed to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who usually vote Republican and are typically conservative. Trump is vulnerable in Utah, a winner-take-all state with a strong Mormon base.
“We think the Cruz campaign has turned evangelical outreach into something of a fine art,” Liz Mair, a Republican strategist behind the Melania ad, told BuzzFeed News.
“We’re not so sure he has LDS outreach locked down, though, and this is an area where we have a little bit of experience and knowledge over and above some Republican operatives, so it’s something we’ve decided to delve into for these contests, at least,” Mair added.
Make America Awesome is also running another ad that shows former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who is a Mormon, with the caption: "Mitt Romney says support the Republican who can beat Trump in your state. He's a smart guy. Back Cruz on Tuesday."
The super PAC is running a third ad featuring a picture of a baby with the caption: "Trump: 'I am pro-choice in every respect and as far as it goes...' There's only one way to stop him. Support Cruz on Tuesday."