When Ted Cruz worked on George W. Bush's 2000 presidential campaign, Bush affectionately gave Cruz the nickname of "Theodore" because the young Texan was so serious. Now, President Bush has reportedly referred to Cruz as a guy he doesn't like.
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Politico first reported Monday that President Bush told donors supporting his brother Jeb that Cruz gets under his skin and will be formidable competitor in Texas and the south.
"I just don't like the guy," Bush told donors according to Politico.
Bush also told donors that he found Cruz opportunistic in his pursuit of Trump voters, according to Politico.
A rep for George W. Bush denied that the former president sees Cruz as strong competition for his brother.
"The first words out of President Bush’s mouth on Sunday night were that Jeb is going to earn the nomination, win the election, and be a great President; he does not view Senator Cruz as a ‘serious rival’ to Governor Bush’s candidacy," Freddy Ford said.
Cruz and Jeb Bush have been garnering roughly the same amount of support among voters in recent weeks, but a new Monmouth University poll released today shows Cruz on top. Cruz garnered 11 percent support in the poll, more than double of what Jeb Bush received at 5 percent.
Thus far, Cruz has refused to say anything negative about President 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."
In his book, A Time for Truth, Cruz wrote extensively about his time working on the domestic policy team of George W. Bush's 2000 campaign and as one of the lawyers handling the Florida recount. While he criticized some of the former president's policies, he spoke well of Bush's character.
"There were a number of issues on which I disagreed with Governor Bush, both as a candidate and as a president, but one thing that I will very much credit him with is the courage of his convictions, that he was willing to stand by what he believed, even in the face of daunting odds," wrote Cruz in his book.
Cruz also discussed in his book another friendlier time with one of America's most well known political families -- the time George P. Bush, Jeb Bush's son, invited him to Maine to meet his grandparents, former president George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush. He called it a "magical afternoon."