Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a 2016 presidential candidate, is publicly feuding with one of the closest advisers of the last Republican president.
The fight between Cruz and Karl Rove, a veteran GOP consultant who guided George W. Bush’s presidential campaigns, spilled out into the open over the weekend. Among other things, Cruz published emails that he said prove Rove is lying about events that took place six years ago.
“It’s disappointing; this is why people are so cynical about politics, because too many people are willing to lie,” Cruz said in a statement accompanying the emails.
Cruz was taking issue with Rove’s Sunday statement accusing him of misrepresenting their interactions back in 2009, when Cruz was looking at running for Texas state attorney general, according to The Dallas Morning News.
The Dallas newspaper reported that Cruz claims in his new book, “A Time for Truth,” that Rove demanded he downplay a contribution he received from former President George H.W. Bush, and that Rove had insulted Bush’s ability to make such endorsements.
“He suggested that the elder Bush was too old to have good judgment anymore,” Cruz reportedly wrote in his book, adding that Rove threatened to have George W. Bush endorse his primary opponent. “I was offended by that characterization and knew from my visit with 41 that it wasn’t remotely true.”
But in his statement — titled “A Time for Setting the Record Straight” — Rove insisted he never dissed the elder Bush. Rove said he was only concerned about the former president weighing in on the Texas attorney general’s race while the incumbent Republican had yet to say whether or not he would run for reelection. (He ultimately ran for reelection that year; Cruz ran for the US Senate instead in 2012.)
“Mr. Cruz’s account is wrong in other particulars, starting with an implication I would question the judgment of one of the finest men I have ever known, President Bush 41, whom I went to work for when I was 22 years old and have revered ever since,” Rove wrote.
Rove further wrote that, at the time, he “was not raising money for the Bush Library, nor was former President Bush 43 going to endorse some unnamed Dallas state representative for state attorney general, nor were any library donors ‘berating’ me” — as Cruz’s book claims.
Rove also took a not-so-subtle shot at Cruz’s record, which he said compared unfavorably to that of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), one of Cruz’s GOP rivals in the 2016 presidential race.
“One piece of advice I offered was that he should stop describing himself as the ‘next Marco Rubio,’ since he did not have Senator Rubio’s outstanding legislative record of accomplishments as speaker of the Florida House of Representatives,” Rove recalled.
But in his own statement reacting to Rove’s, Cruz said it was Rove who was lying.
“I have known Karl Rove for a long time, and have considered him a friend. I understood that my recounting in my book A Time for Truth the threats he made in the 2009 Texas Attorney General race — and the disparaging remarks he made about President George H.W. Bush — would cause him some discomfort,” the senator said. “But I never imagined that his response would be a straight-out falsehood.”
He added, “Below is email correspondence, contemporaneous from that week, demonstrating the veracity of my account.”
The emails released by Cruz’s presidential campaign appear to show Rove doing two of the things he implied he was not doing at the time: discussing Bush library donors and taking Cruz’s possible opponent seriously in the state attorney general’s race.
Here are the emails:
From: Karl Rove <email address redacted>
To: Ted Cruz <email address redacted>
Sent: Wednesday, July 1, 2009 8:24 AM
Subject: Re: Follow-up from today
thanks — I appreciate your doing what you can to keep this down — the distress you mention is not mine or 43 — it is the people raising money for the library who are also Branch fans and will not understand why one part of the Bush family is for not-the-guy while they are raising money big bucks for library.
Thanks too for clarifying that you asked to visit with 41; be as nonchulant [sic] as possible about the gift and we’ll muddle through
On Jul 1, 2009, at 12:49 AM, Ted Cruz wrote:
I am very sorry if I have done anything to distress you or President Bush 43 in any way.
Over the past several years, you’ve been extraordinarily generous in providing advice and insight re the AG campaign, and I have endeavoured to follow your wise counsel to the letter. When we last spoke in January, you advised that the best way to convince Branch not to run was to bring aboard as many “old bulls” across the state as possible, so that the rest of the state would counteract his natural base in Highland Park. Since then, I’ve spent 18 hours a day doing nothing but working to follow that course of action, and we’ve been fortunate to enjoy significant success.
None of that matters, though. I got my start in politics (such as it was) working for you and for President Bush 43, and I’ve spent much of my adult life working to support the President. The last thing I would ever want to do is place either of you in a difficult situation.
When I asked to visit with President Bush 41, and he very kindly agreed, I imagined that we would spend maybe 20 minutes talking about the race, he would give his insights on Texas politics, and that would be it. I could not have been more astonished when he offered his support and gave me a personal check for the campaign.
Obviously, I recognise that President Bush 41’s support is a very big deal, and inded [sic] I had been in discussions with his office about our issuing a press release about the endorsement. Given the concerns you expressed this afternoon, I have told 41’s office that we will skip the press release altogether (see below).
His support will of course attract attention (much of which will be beyond my control), but I will very much follow your counsel to downplay the support and not highlight it in any way.
My hope is that this race will ultimately end up in a win-win scenario, that Dan will choose to run for the new Dallas congressional seat that will be drawn in 2012 and that he and I can work together as friends and allies for a long time. I know that a number of key donors have been urging precisely that course of action, which, if Dan were to choose to follow, would perhaps alleviate some of the concerns we discussed.
I know that it doesn’t rise to the importance of what you have been doing these past eight years, but I do think there is a real need right now for new leadership in the Republican Party, and I am hopeful that this campaign can play at least some role in helping provide that leadership. Your legacy and President Bush 43’s legacy, and especially the enormous progress y’all made in the Hispanic community, are too important not to keep pressing ahead.
Karl, you’ve been a friend and mentor a long time, and I value that friendship immensely.
Please let me know anything I can possibly do to address your and President Bush 43’s concerns.
Thanks so much.
—– Forwarded Message —-
From: Ted Cruz <email address redacted>
To: President George H.W. Bush’s assistant <email address redacted>
Sent: Tuesday, June 30, 2009 11:19:00 PM
Subject: Discretion being the better part of valor
I spoke with Karl this afternoon, and he expressed real concerns that our drawing attention to President Bush 41’s very kind support of the campaign would put President Bush 43 in a difficult position. The last thing I want to do is cause any trouble, so it’s probably wiser just to forego this press release.
So, unless you disagree, I think it probably makes sense simply to include 41 on our overall list of donors, but not to do any separate release or anything highlighting his support, for which I remain deeply, deeply grateful.
Thanks so much,
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