March 15, 2019

Are we about to witness a resurgence of President Trump's brutal Twitter attacks against former Florida Governor Jeb Bush?

Bush, one of Trump's opponents during the 2016 Republican presidential primaries, backed the idea of a Republican challenger to Trump in 2020 during an appearance on the Axe Files podcast, CNN reports, saying that members of the party "ought to be given a choice."

The former governor didn't sound optimistic that a primary challenger would be successful, though, noting that Trump has a loyal base and that it's "hard to beat a sitting president." Still, Bush said it's "important" for Republicans to have "a conversation about what it is to be a conservative," adding that "our country needs to have competing ideologies."

The feud between Bush and Trump, of course, was among the most bitter of the 2016 election cycle, and after dropping out of the race, Bush announced he would not vote for Trump in the general election, nor would he vote for Hillary Clinton.

One person who could challenge Trump from the right is Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), and Bush said on the podcast that when he listened to Hogan deliver a recent speech, "I kind of got a sense that maybe this was an opening," per CNN. But even if Hogan doesn't run, Bush may get his wish sooner rather than later, as former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld in February launched an exploratory committee ahead of possibly seeking the Republican nomination, saying that Republicans who support Trump "exhibit all the symptoms of Stockholm Syndrome." Brendan Morrow

November 9, 2018

More than two years after the Republican presidential primaries of 2016, President Trump and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's paths have once again crossed.

Trump on Friday joined Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) in expressing frustration with Broward County, where votes are still being counted in the state's Senate race. Scott's lead has continued to narrow as votes are counted in this largely Democratic county. Scott on Thursday announced he would be suing Broward County and specifically Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes, alleging that "unethical liberals" are trying to "steal this election from the people of Florida." On Friday, Trump appeared to go after Snipes as well, saying she has a "horrible history," CNN reports.

And who can Trump thank for putting Snipes in her position? None other than one of his all-time favorite punching bags, Jeb Bush. Back in 2001, Miriam Oliphant was elected Broward County's elections supervisor, but her tenure was mired by mismanagement, including broken voting machines, late openings, and undeliverable mail-in ballots. So in 2003, Bush, then the governor of Florida, removed Oliphant from office and appointed Snipes, who has remained in the job ever since, The Washington Post reports. As Trump is sure to continue hammering Broward County in the coming days, having tweeted about supposed "fraud" four times in the course of two hours on Friday, the triumphant return of his "low energy" insult can't be far behind. Brendan Morrow

January 26, 2018

Jeb Bush had strong words for fellow Floridian Marco Rubio on Friday, claiming the senator is avoiding taking a stand in the immigration debate in Washington out of political cowardice. "The left and the right have figured out that this is a great political wedge issue," Bush told USA Today, referring to the ongoing debate over undocumented immigrants and the fate of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients. "It's not a moral issue or an economic issue. It's purely an issue of, 'How do we poll this to make sure our team, our tribe, does better?'"

Rubio was notably one of the bipartisan Gang of Eight, which pushed in 2013 for a comprehensive immigration reform bill that ultimately died in the House after failing to go to a vote. Bush suggested that Rubio's silence now, after having formerly been a leader on the topic, is conspicuous.

"God forbid you actually took on something that was controversial and paid a political price," Bush taunted. "That's the attitude in D.C. right now. Certainly Sen. Rubio is no different in that regard. Marco is a talented guy and he understands this issue really well, and maybe behind the scenes he's working hard. But at some point, his leadership would be really helpful."

Bush and Rubio faced off for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, with both men ultimately losing the nod to Donald Trump. Bush, who formerly served as the governor of Florida, added that his disgust with Capitol Hill is keeping him from returning to politics. Until the culture in Washington changes, "I don't anticipate running for anything," he said. Jeva Lange

February 17, 2017

Back from the failed-campaign graveyard, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) on Friday offered three words to President Trump regarding his border wall plan:

Bush, who was vanquished by Trump in the Republican primary last year, retweeted a Wall Street Journal op-ed that outlines just how much federal land the government would need to assume to complete the president's proposed construction. The hypothetical wall would span 2,000 miles, the majority of which is private property. For the government to obtain the land, it would need to invoke the eminent domain rule under the Fifth Amendment, which allows the government to simply offer owners money for the right to scoop up their land for public use.

Because eminent domain guarantees just compensation — an initial offer by the government equal to market value — the price tag for the border wall could be way, way higher than the initial estimate of roughly $15 billion. As noted throughout Trump's campaign, the wall is a top priority for his administration.

This isn't the first high-profile tweet to hit the Trump administration in its first 100 days over social media. Hillary Clinton, Trump's Democratic rival, attempted to gloat over the unanimous decision by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to block Trump's immigration order — only to be burned by White House counselor Kellyanne Conway. Sarah Weldon

April 19, 2016

It's the musical you never knew you wanted, and the one you now can't imagine living without: Jeb! An American Disappointment! (Please Clap).

The Pulitzer Prize committee should just give next year's drama award out now to the dozens of contributors who turned the saga of Jeb Bush and his erstwhile 2016 rivals into a two-act, 46 song extravaganza. You'll find yourself humming along to such ditties as "Donald Trump, Chump," "He's Not Mitt," and "Jeb! Bush, Exclamation Point," and cheering on (or rooting against) Marco Rubio (Sippin' Water Since 2013), Chris Christie (Bridges Hate Him), and John Kasich (Aw Jeez People).

The musical is available online in its entirety, ready to be performed by only the most seasoned of performers able to handle such sick rhymes as "Hey, Trump: Knock, knock, who's there/What a shock, it's Jebby from the block/I'm servin' up some spicy guac, and it's hotter than hot/If you can't eat it you can leave it, and step right off my jock." Catherine Garcia

February 8, 2016

Jeb Bush has a fighting chance of making an important second-place finish in New Hampshire's primary on Tuesday — a comeback that some believe can be pinned on his decision to embrace his inner bewildered goof. Writing for Slate, Franklin Foer argues that Bush has gone from being kicked-while-he's-down to emerging as a true contender in the Granite State thanks to his uncensored authenticity. "Bush may be the most authentic of the pack — patrician, goofy, a little flummoxed," Foer claims.

Strangely, it's Trump who has helped Bush find himself. When Trump started belittling him, Jeb reverted to Bush form. He couldn't understand how anyone could question his noble pursuit of public service. In the face of Trump's attacks, he looked hurt and stunned. But Bush has embraced Trump-bashing as a moral calling. He gets quite braggadocious when describing how he, and he alone, has the backbone to stand up to the bully. And his attacks on Trump do have a certain swagger now. "I'm not a psychiatrist or a psychologist, but the guy needs therapy," he blared on Saturday. [Slate]

Of course, now the ultimate test remains: If being an authentic joyful tortoise is truly the way to voters' hearts. Read the argument in Slate. Jeva Lange

February 2, 2016

Jeb Bush's awkward phrasing just made a plea for a vote sound like, well, a plea for something else. When a college student told the former Florida governor that the 2016 election would be his first time voting, Bush replied, "I want to be your first."

In Bush's defense, he's not the first politician who has made this insinuation. Back in 2012, Girls star Lena Dunham made an ad for President Obama describing him as the perfect guy for her first time... voting. It remains unclear, however, whether Bush, like Dunham, realized what he was saying. Becca Stanek

December 18, 2015

Back in 2008, Donald Trump had some pretty nice things to say about Obama and Hillary Clinton. To celebrate the anniversary of these sentiments, Jeb Bush's team is running an ad featuring an old but telling Wolf Blitzer interview in which Trump raves, "[Obama is] doing great. I think Hillary is a great appointment. I think that some of the others are just great appointments."

Bush has ratcheted up his fight against Trump in recent weeks, talking him into a memorable tizzy during the Republican debate. Who's low energy now, huh? Jeva Lange

See More Speed Reads