This Meme of Heidi Cruz and Melania Trump Is Going Viral for the Wrong Reason

March 25th 2016

Lucy Tiven

This week, the face-off between Republican primary contenders Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz took a particularly ugly turn when Cruz supporters and Trump traded low blows over the candidates' wives on social media. Before this week's feud, both candidates' spouses remained somewhat far from the limelight.

The meme (below) brought them into the conversation for precisely the wrong reason:

Both Heidi Cruz and Melania Trump are accomplished and intelligent women, and the meme's attempt to compare their looks only serves to point out the sexism of evaluating women solely on the basis of their respective appearances.

The root of the feud.

After an unaffiliated super PAC launched an ad depicting a scantily clad Melania Trump encouraging voters to support Ted Cruz, Trump fired back by threatening to "spill the beans" on Heidi Cruz. Later, Trump manually retweeted a meme comparing a glamorous shot of his wife to an unflattering photo of his rival's.

As ATTN: has previously reported, the feud escalated at a Wisconsin campaign stop when Cruz called Trump "a sniveling coward," and instructed him to "Leave Heidi the hell alone."

While Cruz's response denouncing Trump's sexist insult wasn't without merit, it may also be valuable to consider both prospective first ladies in terms of their careers and backgrounds, rather than simply speaking about them as spouses and invoking their superficial, physical traits.

Melania Trump and Heidi Cruz are far more than pretty faces.

Melania Trump was born in Slovenia, CBS News reported. She speaks five languages: Slovenian, English, French, Serbian, and German.

Though she always dreamed of being a model, before her career took off she was a dedicated student and was accepted at the University of Ljubljana to study architecture, according to the Daily Mail.

Heidi Cruz has led an incredibly rich and impressive career in business and politics, the Daily Beast reported. After graduating from Harvard with an MBA, she served as an economic aide for George W. Bush's presidential campaign and eventually landed a job as the National Security Council's director of Western Hemisphere. Journalists and Twitter users alike have remarked that her qualifications would make her a far more suitable presidential candidate than Trump himself.

Ted Cruz was also less successful in Washington than his wife, according to BuzzFeed News, and jumped at the offer to return to Texas as the state's solicitor general. But Heidi stayed behind in Washington working at the White House for over a year. Eventually, she returned to Texas due to her husband's aspirations to run for state office, and joined the private sector, working at Merrill Lynch and then Goldman Sachs, where she was promoted to managing director in 2012.

Ed Haley, a former professor of and mentor to Heidi Cruz said he believed she would have stayed in Washington had it not been for her husband, according to BuzzFeed News, and he said that the decision was a difficult one.

“Had she not been married, and free to choose, I think she would have stayed for three more years,” Haley said to BuzzFeed News. “My sense is she really loved what she was doing and chose to go back to Ted so that she could help him campaign … She was sorry to go, and reconciled to going.”

Sexism has colored the 2016 campaign.

This is hardly the first time sexism has tinged the 2016 election conversation. Both comments from candidates and coverage by political pundits have brought sexist attitudes to the forefront of American politics.

Beginning in August, Donald Trump launched a barrage of sexist digs at Fox News Anchor Megyn Kelly on Twitter — calling her a "bimbo" and making a misogynist jab about her menstrual cycle following an August GOP debate. The feud has continued throughout the campaign. Trump has made comments about Kelly on Twitter, and the front-runner opted out of a January debate hosted by Fox News, due to Kelly's presence as a moderator.


Sexism has also emerged in press coverage of Democratic presidential hopeful and former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton. Following Clinton's March 15 primary victories, numerous political pundits Tweeted remarks about her voice and demeanor that were widely interpreted as sexist.

Ted Cruz, for his part, attempted to stay above the sexist fray, and also explained that he was unaffiliated with the super PAC ad.

Since the meme exchange, the National Enquirer ran a story accusing Ted Cruz of having five extramarital affairs. On Facebook, Cruz denied the attacks and accused Trump of using connections to the publication's editorial board to publish a smear campaign. Read more here.


I want to be crystal clear: these attacks are garbage. For Donald J. Trump to enlist his friends at the National...

Posted by Ted Cruz on Friday, March 25, 2016