Bush on Cruz: ‘I Just Don’t Like the Guy’

by Jim Geraghty

Former president George W. Bush just plain doesn’t like Sen. Ted Cruz:

It’s George W. Bush’s former employee — Ted Cruz.

“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.

As discussed in March, Cruz spent a good portion of his early career working for Bush — first as a legal policy adviser to the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2000, then as part of the recount team in Florida. He was the Department of Justice coordinator for the Bush-Cheney transition team and then spent six months as Associate Deputy Attorney General at the DOJ. But his longest stretch of work for Bush was at the Federal Trade Commission, before he departed to become the Solicitor General of Texas.

One associate of the former president did note that Cruz was the only member of the Bush-Cheney legal team who didn’t end up working in the Bush White House. This summer Cruz and Bush’s longtime adviser, Karl Rove, got in a war of words.

Last month, Cruz offered a measured critique of Bush’s presidency:

NJ: You have res­isted at­tack­ing your primary op­pon­ents. But you’ve taken some shots at oth­er prom­in­ent Re­pub­lic­ans, like Mitt Rom­ney and Mitch Mc­Con­nell. Donald Trump has taken a lot of shots at George W. Bush, whom you worked for. Is that fair game? And do you agree with his cri­ti­cisms?

CRUZ: Ab­so­lutely. I think George W. Bush is a good man with good in­ten­tions. I spent a num­ber of years work­ing on his cam­paign and in his ad­min­is­tra­tion. And I think a great many of us who did were dis­ap­poin­ted at the end of the day that the ad­min­is­tra­tion lost sight of some of the prin­ciples on which we cam­paigned to be­gin with. It’s not a good thing for a Re­pub­lic­an pres­id­ent to grow the na­tion­al debt from $5 tril­lion to $10 tril­lion. Nor is it a good thing for a Demo­crat­ic pres­id­ent to grow the na­tion­al debt from $10 tril­lion to $18 tril­lion. The com­bin­a­tion no doubt sparked the rise of the tea party, be­cause it is go­ing to take lead­ers will­ing to stand up to the Wash­ing­ton car­tel, to the ca­reer politi­cians in both parties, to rein in the out-of-con­trol spend­ing and stop bank­rupt­ing our kids and grandkids.

Cruz’s campaign took the high road in response to Bush’s reported comments: “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.”

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