Ted Cruz Reveals Karl Rove Lied About Scoring Bush 41’s Endorsement

Karl Rove should probably read what he wrote in his own emails before he attacks the integrity of a U.S. Senator and presidential candidate again.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), a 2016 GOP presidential candidate, published email evidence late Sunday evening that proves Rove—a GOP establishment operative—lied about a 2009 exchange the two had about a then-planned endorsement of Cruz for Attorney General of Texas by former U.S. President George H.W. Bush. The emails that prove Rove was lying were written by Rove himself.

In a statement accompanying the release of email evidence, Cruz noted that Rove lied in his blog post Sunday evening—and it’s truly disturbing to him that people in politics would behave like this.

“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,” Cruz said. “But I never imagined that his response would be a straight-out falsehood. It’s disappointing; this is why people are so cynical about politics, because too many people are willing to lie. No part of our 2009 conversation concerned my good friend, Greg Abbott. Below is email correspondence, contemporaneous from that week, demonstrating the veracity of my account. Karl admits, in writing, that his concern was for “the people raising money for the library who are also [then Texas Rep. Dan] 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.”

The 2009 incident, exposed to the public by Cruz in his new book, A Time For Truth: Reigniting the Promise of America, which goes on sale to the public on Tuesday, was first reported by Breitbart News in an exclusive excerpt obtained on Saturday. The story, as Cruz tells it, is that when Cruz was running for Attorney General of Texas—which he did in 2009 and 2010, before dropping out after current Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, then the Attorney General, decided to run again for his seat—he sought out the endorsement of the elder Bush in a meeting.

Rove had previously advised Cruz against running for Attorney General, telling him he should just build support for his political future and remain Solicitor General of Texas for the time being. When he learned of Cruz’s meeting with Bush 41—and Bush 41’s check to Cruz’s campaign and planned public endorsement of him—Rove was allegedly “irate.”

“Karl had found out about my meeting with George H.W. Bush and called me on the phone,” Cruz writes in the book, in an excerpt obtained by Breitbart News. “He was irate, demanding, ‘What in the hell do you think you are doing?!’”

As Breitbart News reported, Cruz noted that Rove was “in the process of helping raise money for the George W. Bush presidential library in Dallas,” and that “Texas donors were giving the Bushes tens of millions, including major donors who were supporting the Dallas state rep who wanted to run for attorney general” so those donors “were now berating Karl.”

“He suggested that the elder Bush was too old to have good judgment anymore,” Cruz wrote. “I was offended by that characterization and knew from my visit with 41 that it wasn’t remotely true. As Karl continued to yell at me, I responded calmly, ‘Look, I got my start in politics working for Bush 43 and for you… What would you like me to do?”

Rove then demanded, according to Cruz’s book, that Cruz return the check Bush 41 gave him and hide the fact that Cruz scored the endorsement.

“Well, I can’t do that,” Cruz responded. “We already deposited it.”

“I pointed out that under Texas’s election law, we had to list the contribution on our ethics disclosure report,” Cruz wrote, but noting that Rove “paused for a few seconds.”

“All right, fine,” Rove told him. “Then I want you you to do nothing whatsoever to draw attention to it.”

At that point, Cruz said in his forthcoming book, Rove threatened to attack him.

“And then he pulled out the hammer,” Cruz writes. “He implied that if I made any news about Bush 41’s support, then Bush 43 would endorse my opponent and come out publicly for him—a threat that was fairly striking given that I had devoted four years of my life to working as hard as I could helping to elect Bush and serving in his administration. I always wondered whether Karl had the authority to make these threats on behalf of the former president—he certainly acted like he did. In any event, the last thing I wanted to do in running a fledgling campaign in Texas was to get on the wrong side of Rove and the second President Bush.”

So, Cruz agreed to not draw attention to former president’s endorsement of his then-fledgling campaign.

“Fine,” he told Rove. “We’ll do nothing to draw attention to it.”

Breitbart News’ article on the excerpt was picked up by several other major news outlets, including Politico’s Mike Allen’s Playbook and the Dallas Morning News.

On Sunday evening, Rove responded to the firestorm that will obviously create friction between him and the Bush family—since he implied in his conversation with the then future-U.S. Senator that he believes the elder President Bush was too senile to make endorsements on his own—with a blog post titled “A Time For Setting the Record Straight.”

“I’m surprised Senator Ted Cruz criticizes me in his new book, particularly since I have been promoting it on my website rove.com, since April,” Rove wrote in his medium.com blog post. “Regardless, my recollection of the phone call he references from six years ago (2009) differs from his reported account. My concern was then was that Mr. Cruz had solicited a contribution for a possible attorney general race from the former president without making it clear that incumbent Attorney General Greg Abbott had yet to make a decision about seeking re-election. This put President George H.W. Bush potentially in the position of opposing a sitting officeholder who had previously been appointed to the Texas Supreme Court by his son, then Governor George W. Bush. General Abbott decided later in 2009 that we would seek reelection the following year.”

Rove continued by arguing that his call to Cruz “apparently didn’t offend him back then because he continued eking my counsel about his political ambitions, specifically his 2012 bid for the U.S. Senate.”

“One piece of advice I offered him 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 wrote. “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. When Mr. Cruz and I talked in 2009, I was not raising money for the Bush Library, nor was former President Bush 43 [George W. Bush, 41’s son] going to endorse some unnamed state representative for state attorney general, nor were any library donors ‘berating’ me.”

In response to Rove’s blog post, Cruz released an email chain he and Rove had in 2009 that explicitly proves Rove is lying on several counts. The press release, mocking how badly Rove got this wrong in his blog post, is headlined: “Ted Cruz Sets Record Straight With Karl Rove.”

“A Time For Truth Isn’t Just The Name Of Sen. Cruz’s New Book,” the sub-header reads.

In the email, Rove says he was being pressured by donors—and lays out how this was intricately related to his fundraising for the Bush 43 library and how then state Rep. Dan Branch was who those donors were backing for Attorney General of Texas, and not waiting until Abbott made a decision.

“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 [state Rep. Dan] 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 as possible about the gift and we’ll muddle through,” Rove wrote to Cruz.

That was in response to a lengthy email Cruz sent Rove on July 1, 2009.

“I am very sorry if I have done anything to distress you or President Bush 43 in any way,” Cruz wrote to Rove. “Over the past several years, you’ve been extraordinarily generous in providing advice and insight re the AG campaign, and I have endeavored 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.”

Cruz continued in that email to Rove:

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 recognize that President Bush 41’s support is a very big deal, and inded 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.

Rove’s spokesman has not responded to a Breitbart News request for comment late Sunday in response to the emails released by Cruz which prove that Rove is lying. There’s little doubt that Rove’s decision to keep digging here will harm his relationship with the Bush family as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush seeks the Republican nomination in 2016—angling to become the third member of the Bush family to serve as President of the United States of America.

For good measure—as if the above proof wasn’t enough—Cruz released yet another email which he had sent to Bush 41’s assistant Jean on June 30, 2009, which also lays out exactly what Cruz wrote about in his book.

“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,” Cruz wrote to Bush 41’s assistant Jean. “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.”

While Rove’s team has not responded to Breitbart News, The Washington Post reports that Rove’s chief of staff told them that he can’t find in his archives the email he wrote that Cruz released that proves he lied.

“Kristin Davison, Rove’s chief of staff, said she cannot confirm an email the Cruz campaign said is from Rove that says distress over the donation would have come not from Rove or George W. Bush, but people raising money for George W. Bush’s presidential library,” The Washington Post’s Katie Zezima wrote late Sunday. “Davison said Rove has no record of the email in his archive or recollection of it. She said Rove has records of the other two emails.


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