Former President George W. Bush told his brother’s supporters what he really thinks of Jeb’s rivals—singling out one as the biggest threat.
During a private event in Denver, Sunday, for a select hundred donors to Jeb Bush’s campaign, Bush surprised the crowd when he weighed in against another GOP contender, Politico reported Monday.
It wasn’t Donald Trump, or Ben Carson, or Sen. Marco Rubio—Bush smashed his former campaign employee Sen. Ted Cruz.
“I just don’t like the guy,” Bush said.
Bush’s remark prompted one donor to tell Politico, “I was like, ‘Holy sh-t, did he just say that?’”
“I remember looking around and seeing that other people were also looking around surprised,” the donor added.
Another donor noted that Bush was speaking pleasantly about the other candidates, “Until he got to Cruz.”
Cruz’s mutual hands-off policy and joint events with front-runner Trump seem to have gotten under Bush’s skin.
One donor, paraphrasing the former president’s comment in response to a broad question about how he viewed the primary race and the other Republican candidates, said: “He said he found it ‘opportunistic’ that Cruz was sucking up to Trump and just expecting all of his support to come to him in the end,” that donor added.
Bush told attendees that “he thought Cruz was going to be a pretty formidable candidate against Jeb, especially in Texas and across the South,” according to one of those present.
Freddy Ford, the former president’s spokesman, denied that Bush sees Cruz as Jeb’s most serious rival.
For his part, Cruz maintained his graceful stance regarding other candidates, whom he has generally refused to criticize.
“I have great respect for George W. Bush, and was proud to work on his 2000 campaign and in his administration,” Cruz said in a statement to Politico. “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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