Ted Cruz has attacked Donald Trump, calling him a “snivelling coward” after he tweeted a photo of his wife Heidi Cruz.

Cruz told the Republican frontrunner to leave his wife “the hell alone”.

The Apprentice boss had previously tweeted an unflattering photo of Heidi Cruz, which read “no need to ‘spill the beans’… The image are worth a thousand words”.

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A message saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” accompanied the photo.

Speaking to reporters as he campaigned in Wisconsin, Cruz said: “It’s not easy to tick me off. I don’t get angry often. But you mess with my wife, you mess with my kids, that’ll do it every time. Donald you are a sniveling coward and leave Heidi the hell alone.”

“Our spouses and our children are off bounds,” Cruz continued. “It is not acceptable for a big loud New York bully to attack my wife.”

Going on the Texas senator said Trump is scared by “strong women”, saying that “real men don’t try to bully women”.

Responding originally on Twitter, Cruz said: “Your wife is lovely, and Heidi is the love of my life.”

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A Republican congressman has suggested that Donald Trump and Ted Cruz could settle their disagreements the old fashion way.

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The Presidential rivals have been increasingly at odds over a number of issues, not least LGBT rights and the congressman suggested the two could duel to the death.