In yet another sign that the GOP primary battle has gone well below ditch water level in terms of dirty politics, the final hours before the caucus on Utah got particularly ugly. The nastiness in question started when a PAC run by Liz Mair ran an advertisement purportedly aimed at stopping Donald Trump, but chose to do so by featuring a racy photo of the real estate mogul’s wife Melania from a GQ shoot the model did more than fifteen years ago. The response around the political sphere was rapid, severe, and completely misguided. (Politico)
Donald Trump tweeted and then deleted a message Tuesday evening that threatened to “spill the beans” about Ted Cruz’s wife, Heidi. Then he tweeted again.
“Wow @SenTedCruz, that is some low level ad you did using a picture of Melania in a G.Q. shoot.Be careful or I will spill the beans on your wife,” Trump tweeted, before deleting the message seconds later.
Trump’s tweet is an apparent reference to the anti-Trump super PAC Make America Awesome, not affiliated with Cruz’s campaign, running Facebook ads featuring a photo of Trump’s wife posing nude for British GQ in 2000.
You’ll notice that the main thrust of Politico’s coverage was about Trump’s response. Granted, it was also inappropriate, but it completely glosses over what began the brouhaha in the first place. We saw the same thing from Erick Erickson’s new site, as well as from one of our colleagues at RedState.
Is anyone else puzzled by what’s missing from this discussion? In yet another bit of irony, it was the Yahoo News Beauty blog which managed to identify that the genesis of this nasty little food fight didn’t start with Trump. It began with Liz Mair doing something she would normally never tolerate if the target were any woman with a surname which wasn’t Trump. Since when do alleged conservatives jump on the Democrats’ trend of slut shaming?
And so, once again, we are confronted with the opinion that a woman who expresses herself with her body is not to be taken seriously, and is somehow less or not good enough. Melania was working as a model at the time of the photo shoot, which was for GQ magazine in 2000. And somehow, the fact that she has a body — and showed it — makes her not worthy of respect, according to the folks behind the ad.
For the record, Slovenian-born Melania started her modeling career at age 5, reportedly speaks five languages, designs a successful jewelry line, and is mom to son Barron.
Long time readers don’t need to be reminded of this, but for disclosure purposes I’ll repeat that Liz and I have been friends for years and are regularly in contact with each other. And really, that makes this all the more shocking. Yes, it was wrong for Donald Trump to issue a threat of doing the same to Heidi Cruz, but the original sin here falls on Mair’s doorstep. Would we tolerate this being done to the wives of any of the other GOP candidates? What was Melania’s sin here? She worked as a model and had plenty of pictures of her attractive form published in many outlets. What does that have to do with Trump’s politics, positions and policies? For that matter, what, if anything, does it have to do with Melania’s? If someone were to “go after” Heidi Cruz over the fact that she worked for Goldman Sachs until recently, you could almost see the relevance if it were in the context of some sort of financial industry reform question or campaign finance debate, but even then you’re treading on thin ice.
This episode only goes to show that there are apparently no rules left when it comes to Trump and that doesn’t just apply to his own campaign. Those opposing him are willing to quickly run to places they would normally avoid if they believe there are points to be scored. That ad and Liz’s PAC (neither of which I will link to here) are exactly what we don’t need in this race. If you have any extra money you’re looking to donate and you’re in the #NeverTrump camp, I would suggest donating it directly to Ted Cruz and promoting his positive qualities or to some other group which actually challenges Trump’s policies and positions rather than wasting it by sending it to the authors of the sort of garbage we saw in Utah this week.