George Bush shocks GOP donors as he unleashes wrath on Ted Cruz for ‘sucking up’ to Trump
President George W. Bush aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln to address the nation and sailors upon their return from their record-breaking 10-month deployment to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (Tyler J. Clements/U.S. Navy)

Former President George W. Bush surprised supporters of his brother Jeb on Sunday when he ripped Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) during a fundraising event in Denver, Politico reported.

Bush's dismissive tone toward the Tea Party lawmaker -- who worked on his campaign as a domestic policy advisor in 1999 -- came as a surprise for many of the 100 donors at the event. At one point, Bush reportedly said of Cruz, "I just don't like the guy."

"I was like, 'Holy sh*t, did he just say that?'" another donor said. "I remember looking around and seeing that other people were also looking around surprised."

While the former Texas governor expressed confidence in his brother's ability to win the party's nomination, attendees said, he was generally pleasant during his 35-minute speech, with the exception of his remarks on Cruz, who he reportedly accused of "hijacking" the GOP in both Texas and Washington.

"He said he found it 'opportunistic' that Cruz was sucking up to [Donald] Trump and just expecting all of his support to come to him in the end," one attendee said, an allusion to Cruz's somewhat warmer relationship with the current Republican front-runner.

Last week, Trump attacked Jeb Bush by bringing up the fact that the 9/11 attacks happened during George W. Bush's presidency. However, Politico reported that the former president did not address those remarks during the event.

Bush also reportedly criticized another candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), although not as harshly

"He's a young, first-term senator; I'm not sure if that qualifies you to be president," Bush said of Rubio, according to two attendees, before quipping that should Cruz win the Republican presidential nomination, "I'll be back here next year telling you that doesn't matter."

Cruz refused to fire back in a statement released on Monday night, instead saying he was "proud" to work on Bush's first presidential campaign.

"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," Cruz's statement read. "I met my wife Heidi working on his campaign, and so I will always be grateful to him."