A super PAC supporting Ted Cruz kicked things off by tweeting an old photo of Donald Trump’s wife, during her modeling days, lying naked on a fur rug. Trump threatened to “spill the beans” on Cruz’s wife, Heidi, and retweeted an image mocking her appearance.
While a bit shocking, it isn’t really a new low for presidential races. Politics has always been a dirty business for male candidates’ wives, going all the way back to the country’s early days.
“It was terrible what these [earlier politicians] were doing to each other,” says Cormac O’Brien, author of “Secret Lives of the First Ladies.” “There was a tradition in politics for a long time of spreading half-truths and lies. People would be shocked by how bad it was.”
According to National First Ladies’ Library historian Carl Anthony, the first smear campaign aimed at a first lady came way back in 1808.