Presidential candidate Ted Cruz called Donald Trump a “sniveling coward” after his Republican rival reposted an image on Twitter that mocked Heidi Cruz’s appearance.
The image featured an unflattering photo of Cruz’s wife set next to a photo of Trump’s wife, Melania.
“No need to ‘spill the beans,’” a caption on the image read. “The images are worth a thousand words.”
Cruz initially tried to take the high road Wednesday, posting a response shortly after Trump’s tweet.
But speaking to reporters on Thursday afternoon, Cruz blasted Trump’s tweet.
“It’s not easy to tick me off. I don’t get angry often. But you mess with my wife, you mess with my kids, that will do it every time. Donald, you’re a sniveling coward, and leave Heidi the hell alone,” he said.
Fox News host Megyn Kelly, often a target of Trump’s ire, also weighed in on Twitter Thursday.
The spat over the two potential first ladies was ignited last week when a super PAC supporting Cruz ran ads in Utah featuring a nude photo of Melania Trump. The photo, more than a decade old, was part of a magazine shoot for GQ. Text on the ad read: “Meet Melania Trump. Your next First Lady.”
In response, Trump threatened Cruz over Twitter later in the week. Cruz has said the ad was placed by an outside group and not by his campaign.
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 23, 2016