Ted Cruz is taking the high road, it seems, in response to reports that former President George W. Bush slammed him at a donors event for his brother Jeb.
Politico, citing multiple donors in attendance, reports that former President Bush was pretty amicable in his comments about the 2016 Republican field.
Until he got to Ted Cruz, that is.
“I just don’t like the guy,” Bush said Sunday night, according to conversations with more than half a dozen donors who attended the event.
One donor in the room said the former president had been offering mostly anodyne accounts of how the Bush family network views the current campaign and charming off-the-cuff jokes, until he launched into Cruz.
“I was like, ‘Holy sh-t, did he just say that?’” the donor said. “I remember looking around and seeing that other people were also looking around surprised.”
Cruz has responded, saying that he has great respect for Bush.
“I have great respect for George W Bush, and was proud to work on his 2000 campaign and in his administration,” Cruz said. “It’s no surprise that President Bush is supporting his brother and attacking the candidates he believes pose a threat to his campaign. I have no intention of reciprocating. I met my wife Heidi working on his campaign, and so I will always be grateful to him.”
George W. Bush’s spokesman Freddy Ford was on message in his statement, knocking down reports that Bush views Cruz as his brother’s biggest rival.
“The first words out of President Bush’s mouth last night were that Jeb is going to earn the nomination, win the election, and be a great president. He does not view Sen. Cruz as Gov. Bush’s most serious rival.”
Cruz joined the George W. Bush campaign in 1999 as a domestic adviser. He then worked on the campaign’s legal team. Once Bush was in office, Cruz worked as an associate deputy attorney general in the DoJ a policy head at the FTC.
CNN’s latest GOP poll puts Donald Trump at 27%, followed by Ben Carson at 22%. Jeb Bush is tied for third with Marco Rubio at 8%, while Ted Cruz only mustered 4%.