Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren defends, Buttigieg attacks in debate that shrank the field Five takeaways from the Democratic debate in Ohio Democrats debate in Ohio: Who came out on top? MORE on Monday continued to defend an unflattering photo he shared on Twitter last week of GOP presidential rival Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump grapples with Turkey controversy This week: Congress returns to chaotic Washington The Hill's Morning Report - Lawmakers return to work as Dem candidates set to debate MORE's wife, saying it was an example of "counterpunching."

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"Frankly, all I’m doing is counterpunching what he did,” Trump said on “Fox and Friends,” continuing to claim that there are links between Cruz and the anti-Trump super-PAC behind an earlier ad featuring his wife Melania posing nude from a 2000 British GQ photoshoot.

"He sent the photo out, as sure as you're sitting there. He knew about it. Somebody even said he's the one that bought the copyrights from GQ. Now we'll find out who bought the copyrights from GQ. But he knew about it at a minimum," Trump said. "Let's not be naive, folks."

Cruz has repeatedly denied any connection to Make America Awesome, the anti-Trump super-PAC behind the Melania ad, and Trump has not offered evidence connecting the two. Super-PACs are barred from directly coordinating with a campaign.

Meanwhile, Trump on Monday also sought to deflect charges from Cruz that the businessman and his "henchmen" were behind a tabloid article in the National Enquirer last week alleging extramarital affairs.

"I had nothing to do with the National Enquirer. I knew nothing about it. I just saw it yesterday for the first time," Trump insisted on Fox.

Trump then pivoted to push a Daily Beast story from last week suggesting that allies of former Republican presidential candidate Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioHillicon Valley: Warren turns up heat in battle with Facebook | Instagram unveils new data privacy feature | Advocacy group seeks funding to write about Big Tech TikTok adds former lawmakers to help develop content moderation policies This week: Congress returns to chaotic Washington MORE peddled the rumors, with Trump calling it "a pretty conclusive story."

This report was updated at 8:24 a.m.