Finally, someone other than Donald Trump is annoying the GOP establishment. Former President George W. Bush attended a donor event for brother Jeb's campaign Sunday in Denver, and according to a handful of attendees, Dubya had a lot to say about Ted Cruz, who served as a domestic policy adviser for Bush during his own 2000 campaign, per Politico. "I just don't like the guy," No. 43 reportedly said at one point, surprising some with his sudden shift from jokes to Cruz criticism. He also mentioned that Cruz was running for "personal gain," that he couldn't stand seeing Cruz "hijack" the GOP both in Texas and in DC, and that Cruz may turn out to be a "pretty formidable" foe to his brother in Texas and the South. Bush also railed against the apparent alliance between Cruz and Trump. "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," one donor tells Politico.
Audience members were somewhat thrown. "The tenor of what he said about the other candidates was really pretty pleasant," one donor tells Politico. "Until he got to Cruz." Another adds, "I was like, 'Holy s--t, did he just say that?'" But No. 43 doesn't really view Cruz as a roadblock for Jeb, notes a rep, who said, "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's camp, for its part, released a statement Monday that said he had "great respect" for Dubya, had been "proud" to work with him, and carried "no intention of reciprocating" any attacks. "I met my wife Heidi working on his campaign, and so I will always be grateful to him," the statement said. (Meanwhile, in the Bush-Trump Twitter tiff …)