How Jeb Bush saw 2000 election furor

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Jeb Bush’s contemporaneous views on the divisive 2000 presidential election have been revealed in emails obtained by the Wall Street Journal

Included in the messages is one thanking John Roberts, now the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, for his “input” on Bush’s role in that situation.

At the time of the emails, Bush’s brother, George W. Bush, was deadlocked in an exceptionally close battle for the presidency with Democrat Al GoreAl GoreTrump: A vote for the Green Party helps me Democrats: We can win on guns Brazile’s new role? Clean up DNC mess MORE, who had been serving as President Bill Clinton’s vice president. The election came down to the key state of Florida, where Jeb Bush was governor.

“I believe my brother will win if the law is adhered to,” the governor wrote in a Nov. 10 email. He also declared himself “sickened by the ‘second campaign’ now being waged,” a comment the Journal interpreted as a reference to the various legal challenges provoked by the election. 

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George W. Bush was eventually declared the winner of the election following a Supreme Court decision on December 12, 2000. Six days before that, Jeb Bush had written to John Roberts, who was then in private practice.

“I really appreciate your input on my role in this unique and historic situation,” Bush wrote. No further details or context were provided in the Journal’s report.

Bush declared earlier this month that he intends to make public around 250,000 emails from his time in the governor’s office. The emails referred to in the Wall Street Journal story were provided in response to a request the news organization made in the wake of Bush’s announcement.

The messages also include several pertaining to the case of Elian Gonzalez. In 2000, Gonzales — then six years old — was returned from Florida to his father in Cuba after a raid by armed federal agents.

The saga had begun when Gonzales was found in the sea off Florida, clinging to an inner tube. He, his mother and several others had left Cuba in the hope of reaching the United States. His mother died during the crossing, as did most of the others.

Gonzales was initially released into the care of relatives in Florida but a bitter legal battle then began, which ultimately concluded with his return to Cuba. The raid by U.S. federal agents to take possession of the young boy was the subject of a famous photograph that later won a Pulitzer Prize.

In the emails obtained by the Journal, Bush calls the date of the raid “a horrible day.” In other messages, he describes himself as “heartbroken” and “sickened” over the federal government’s actions. 

Bush took a step toward a 2016 presidential run earlier this month, stating in a Facebook post that he would “actively explore” the possibility of a bid.