President Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz appeared to be putting their bitter campaign rivalry behind them as the two men and their families came together for dinner at the White House on Wednesday night.
Cruz, the Texas Republican who was Trump’s strongest challenger in the 2016 presidential primary election, took to his Twitter to share a photo from the visit of his two young daughters, Caroline and Catherine, posing with the president at his Oval Office desk.
“Our family had dinner w the President & First Lady, who were warm & gracious. Catherine brought Joe — her kindergarten class stuffed giraffe!” Cruz captioned the photo.
“Warm and gracious” is a far cry from the insults Cruz and Trump lobbed at each other on the campaign trail last year, when their battle for the Republican presidential nomination turned deeply personal. Trump repeatedly maligned Cruz using the nickname “Lyin’ Ted,” and Cruz in turn has called Trump a “sniveling coward,” a “pathological liar” and “utterly amoral.”
At the height of their feud, nearly a year ago, Trump ridiculed Cruz’s wife, Heidi, on Twitter after a super PAC unrelated to the Texas senator published an ad featuring a nude photo of Trump’s wife, model turned First Lady Melania Trump, from a 2000 spread in British GQ.
“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!” Trump tweeted at the time.
“Pic of your wife not from us,” Cruz retorted. “Donald, if you try to attack Heidi, you’re more of a coward than I thought. #classless.”
One day later, Trump followed up by tweeting an image another user had shared insulting Heidi Cruz’s appearance:
“A picture is worth a thousand words,” Trump wrote.
After initially calling Trump a “coward,” Cruz tweeted: “Donald, real men don’t attack women. Your wife is lovely, and Heidi is the love of my life.”
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In another bizarre attack, Trump accused Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, of being involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.
Things were still tense in July, when Cruz refused to endorse Trump as the GOP nominee while speaking at the Republican National Convention.
He later explained his decision, saying, “I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father. That pledge [to endorse the eventual nominee] was not a blanket commitment that if you go and slander and attack Heidi, that I’m going to nonetheless come like a puppy dog and say, ‘Thank you very much for maligning my wife and maligning my father.’ ”
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Cruz isn’t the first former primary foe Trump has tried to charm since becoming president.
He gave Sen. Marco Rubio a ride to Florida on Air Force One last week and hosted Rubio and his wife for dinner at the White House. He also met with Ohio Gov. John Kasich, had New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and his wife over for Valentine’s Day meatloaf, and had a working lunch with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, NBC News reported.
Most recently, Trump had lunch with his primary opponent — and outspoken critic — Sen. Lindsay Graham on Wednesday.
After the meeting, Graham appeared to absolve Trump for once sharing his personal cell phone number at a campaign rally.
“How good was the meeting? I gave him my NEW cell phone number,” Graham tweeted.