Ted Cruz has always been a jerk: Four reasons why even the George W. Bush team hated him

The 29-year-old Cruz took it upon himself to edit documents he shouldn't have read, boss around his superiors

Published January 25, 2016 7:15PM (EST)

Ted Cruz (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)
Ted Cruz (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

In his book "A Time for Truth," Texas Senator and GOP presidential hopeful characterized his role in getting George W. Bush into the White House in the heady days after the contested 2000 election, but those who were in Florida working alongside James Baker don't remember Cruz having quite as large a role as the candidate does -- and what they do remember doesn't exactly paint him in a positive light.

Of course, at this point Cruz is happy to distance himself from the more "moderate" wing of the Republican party represented by former president George W. Bush, but at the time, he was angling for a position on his staff. According to George J. Terwilliger III, Cruz was certainly present during the recount and subsequent legal arguments, but "at a relatively junior level." Another lawyer who worked on the case, Daryl Bristow, told the New York Times that if he had not seen a picture of Cruz there, "I would not have known" that he was there.

Baker himself said that he "had a large legal team that included hundreds of very smart and capable attorneys and staffers," and suggested that the Times "contact other members of the legal team to get a sense of Ted Cruz’s exact involvement."

However, those who do remember him being there -- including Cruz himself -- remember a young lawyer who, in Cruz's own words, often "overstep[ped] the bounds of my appointed role," which was apparently to transport documents to a federal district court. "I was far too cocky for my own good," Cruz wrote of his own involvement, and though many were reluctant to go on the record, no one exactly disagreed with Cruz's self-assessment.

"He thought he should get the No. 1 policy job in the White House, and he was extremely ambitious," Fleischer told the Times. "In Ted's case in 2000, it backfired."

Cruz reportedly reminded colleagues with regularity that he had attended Princeton and Harvard, and had clerked at the Supreme Court. He would email them at all hours of the night, causing many to avoid meetings at which they believed Cruz would in attendance, lest they be added to his list of correspondents. Many within the future Bush administration even believed that Cruz had taken to editing documents to which he should not have even been privy.

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By Scott Eric Kaufman

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Aol_on Ari Fleischer Elections 2000 Elections 2016 George W. Bush James Baker Recount Ted Cruz