The "wife" feud, which initially many though was merely a sideshow between Donal Trump and Ted Cruz, has taken a quick turn for the ugly and is escalating dramatically with every passing day, and now that even the National Enquirer has entered the fray, has rapidly devolved to nothing less than the surreal twilight zone.
For those who need a primer of what is rapidly becoming the biggest "issue" in the presidential race, here is a reminder, courtesy of our post from last night "Tough Guy Ted Warns "Sniveling Coward" Trump: "Leave My Wife Alone":
- Phase 1: Cruz Reps "Cross The Line", when a "SuperPAC" run by a Cruz supporter launched a Trump ad campaign showcasing a naked posing Melania Trump
- Phase 2: Trumps Warns Cruz: "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!"
- Phase 3: Cruz firez back, warning Trump: Don't Do The Same Thing To Me That [My Reps] Just Did To You (Or Else!).
- Phase 4: Trump Goes There, retweeting an image "comparing" Heidi Cruz and Melania Trump
- Phase 5: Cruz Goes Full Rambo, says 'Donald, you're a sniveling coward and leave Heidi alone.'
Or, as we summed up, "a Cruz fan uses naked images of Trump's wife to disparage him to saintly 'Utah-ans'; Trump pissed; Cruz warns Trump not to reciprocate; Trump shows ugly picture of Cruz's wife; Cruz unleashes inner Hulk as Trump dares to do what Cruz reps did to him."
That was just the last few days.
And then the tabloids jumped on board.
Overnight, Trump-linked National Enquirer, alleged that the Texas senator is "hiding five different mistresses." According to its source, identified as a "Washington insider," "private detectives are digging into at least five affairs Ted Cruz supposedly had," and "the leaked details are an attempt to destroy what's left of his White House campaign." The supposed affairs are detailed in the Enquirer's most recent print issue.
National Enquirer: Ted Cruz had 5 affairs - Idk if true (but they did break the Tiger Woods affairs). pic.twitter.com/Olof2tPJA8— Secular Talk (@KyleKulinski) March 25, 2016
Though unconfirmed, the rumor sparked chatter across social media Friday with the hashtag #CruzSexScandal, with reactions, as expected, ranging from one end of the spectrum to the other.
Considering the source, we doubt there is much veracity to the alleged "Cruz sex scandal", although the tabloid has had its share of "broken" news stores in the past.
As was to be expected, Cruz immediately denounced the article as "garbage, complete and utter lies" and accused his opponent Donald Trump of being the source of the story as Reuters reports.
"It's tabloid smear, and it is a smear that has come from Donald Trump and his henchmen," a clearly perturbed Cruz told reporters at a press conference in Wisconsin, as the battle for the Republican presidential nomination reached new levels of personal rancor.
Trump issued a statement saying he was not responsible for the article.
"I have nothing to do with the National Enquirer and unlike Lyin' Ted Cruz I do not surround myself with political hacks and henchman and then pretend total innocence," Trump said in the statement. "Ted Cruz’s problem with the National Enquirer is his and his alone, and while they were right about O.J. Simpson, John Edwards, and many others, I certainly hope they are not right about Lyin’ Ted Cruz."
In other words, just as Cruz had "nothing" to do with the first naked photo of Melania that started off this latest scandal, so Trump had "nothing" to do with the Enquirer article.
Alas, the damage for Cruz may already have been done: the article exploded on Twitter overnight on Thursday. By Friday morning #CruzSexScandal was a worldwide trending topic on Twitter.
And while Trump has distanced himself from the Enquirer article, very much the same way Cruz distanced himself from the original attack ad, an aide to Donald Trump on Friday did fulfil the businessman's threat to "spill the beans" on Republican presidential rival Ted Cruz's wife, Heidi.
As The Hill first reported, Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson rattled off a list of attacks three days after Trump first made the threat.
"Spilling the beans is quite simple when it comes to Heidi Cruz," Pierson said in an interview with MSNBC's Steve Kornacki.
"She is a Bush operative; she worked for the architect of NAFTA, which has killed millions of jobs in this country; she was a member on the Council on Foreign Relations who — in Sen. Cruz's own words, called a nest of snakes that seeks to undermine national sovereignty; and she's been working for Goldman Sachs, the same global bank that Ted Cruz left off of his financial disclosure," Pierson said.
"Her entire career has been spent working against everything Ted Cruz says that he stands for," she added.
Cruz spokeswoman Alice Stewart responded to the remarks in a statement to The Hill, saying, "There's no low the Trump campaign won't go."
Earlier in the MSNBC interview, Pierson said "this isn't about Heidi Cruz, this is about Melania Trump. Melania Trump was the one that was attacked."
Incidentally, she is right, even though that means that this most hypnotic scandal in the republican presidential primary race - and perhaps any US presidential race yet - is nowhere close to over as neither candidate can possibly concede defeat on a topic that is "near and dear" to the heart as one's wife.