The timing couldn’t be more obvious: When Donald Trump needed to knock out his main rival in the Republican primaries after losing in Utah, his friends put out a story of Cruz infidelity to The National Enquirer. This followed after days of personal accusations and schoolyard taunts between the two, starting when Trump incorrectly claimed Cruz was behind a meme styled Anti-Trump ad that showed a photo of his current wife when she posed nude for GQ magazine.
The Facebook ads were placed by the PAC Make America Awesome. Cruz for his part never denounced the anti-Trump ad calculated to turn Mormon Trump supporters to Ted Cruz in the Utah primary.
In retaliation Trump threatened to “spill the beans on” Heidi Cruz, then a couple of days later the Enquirer story hits the news. Even if Trump was not behind the story, the timing and appearance that Trump is executing a list of political hits, should earn him the responsibility for it.
Why did Trump react so strongly? What do he or Melania have to be ashamed of? This nation should be far past the point of shaming a presidential candidate or his wife because she was doing her job as a model—oh, wait—unless you are an African-American first lady, you can never do anything right even if you never posed in the nude. Anyway, maybe Trump just can’t let a personal attack on him or his wife go? His over the top response to a perceived slight may yet again be a “Stillson Moment” that finally collapses the image of his popular support.
You may remember a time when every bad thing that happened, a murder, a rape, or corruption scandal—the GOP was always happy to blame it on the moral vacuity of president Clinton. What will they say now that their front runner in the primaries has lowered the bar of political discourse to re-Tweeting unflattering pictures of opponents wives? If you are waiting for the GOP to expel Donald Trump, don’t hold your breath.
With the top Republican primary candidates locked in a mortal battle, the GOP is imploding in painful slow motion. This may delight or dismay you, depending on your political persuasion.
In ways it seemed predictable that Donald Trump would start to show his fangs when he was baited and attacked. Trump has a hard time letting personal attacks and insults go. Marco Rubio brilliantly egged Trump on to brag about the size of his junk when he said Donald has small hands. Hillary Clinton repeated the taunt when she criticized Donald Trump’s temperament saying our country needs “steady hands” at the helm. Trump took took the bait once more and defended his hands perhaps trying to remind us again what a huge package he has.
Ted Cruz seems just as easy to bait, jumping into full battle mode when Trump threatened to make Cruz’s wife an issue. Cruz has protested Trump’s threats to attack his wife, but is Cruz capable of a response that will capitalize on the backlash to Trump? What if the cheating accusations have any truth?
A cheating scandal would be a non-story in Europe, and it should be a private matter between the involved parties—except if a candidate crusades as a religious moralizer—and shows himself as a hypocrite.
After the veracity of the cheating accusations, and who did what first are forgotten, what will linger in the American consciousness is the ugliness of the 2016 Cruz/Trump rivalry.