Jeb Bush Calls for a Republican Challenger to Take On Trump in 2020
Failed 2016 presidential candidate Jeb Bush is calling for Republicans to wage a primary fight against the man who mocked Bush as “low energy” and wrecked his presidential aspirations.
Although the Republican National Committee issued a statement in January rallying around President Donald Trump for the 2020 race, Bush, a former Florida governor, claimed a contest would be good for the party.
“I think someone should run. Just because Republicans ought to be given a choice,” Bush said. Bush made the comment during an interview with David Axelrod that will air Saturday on “The Axe Files,” CNN reported.
Bush held out little hope that anyone could defeat the president in a primary challenge, saying Trump would win because he “has a strong, loyal base” and “it’s hard to beat a sitting president.”
“But to have a conversation about what it is to be a conservative I think is important,” he said.
Bush also took a shot at Trump’s worldview.
“(O)ur country needs to have competing ideologies that people — that are dynamic, that focus on the world we’re in and the world we’re moving towards rather than revert back to a nostalgic time,” he said.
The former governor said Republicans must “offer a compelling alternative” to Democratic ideas rather than labeling Democrats’ ideas “bad.”
Bush’s remarks on Trump grew out of a conversation with Axelrod about Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.
During Hogan’s inauguration in January, Bush touted him as an up-and-coming Republican.
“Larry is at the top of a list of leaders that I admire today, because what is happening here in Annapolis is the antithesis of what’s happening in Washington, D.C., these days,” Bush said, according to the Washington Examiner.
“No man, not even the president of the United States, is above the law,” Hogan said then. “For our system of justice and our system of government to survive, we must pledge our highest allegiance to the strength of the law and not to the common frailties of man.”
“I didn’t realize I was part of his pre-campaign,” Bush told Axelrod in the interview.
Hogan has told CNN that he would not rule out a run for the White House but has not committed to challenging Trump.
“People are talking to me about it,” he said last month. “I’m flattered people are saying that and including me in those discussions. My focus, my plan right now is to stay here for four years and do the best job I can in Maryland, but I’ve said, ‘You never say never.’ Who knows what’s going to happen.”
Bush has continually criticized Trump’s style and bemoaned the nature of current political dialogue.
Last year he told CNBC that “this political environment right now, I’m not suited for. To be honest with you. I’m a fish out of water. I can’t imagine having to attack someone to make yourself look strong.”
“I’m not a ‘never Trumper,” Bush said. “But when he goes beyond the line, or anybody else does for that matter, you have to stand on principle.”
“I don’t blame Donald Trump for the cultural malaise that we’re in. He’s a byproduct of it,” he said. “The cultural environment has changed.”
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