Jeb Bush: ‘I can’t imagine having to attack someone to make yourself look strong’
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) said Thursday that he “can’t imagine” attacking his rivals in the way President Trump does to bolster his image, declaring himself a “fish out of water” in the current political environment.
Asked in an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box” whether he would consider mounting another bid for the White House, Bush said that he isn’t suited to compete in such a divisive political landscape.
“I don’t know. I love policy. I love my country,” he said. “But 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.”
Bush was once considered the front-runner for the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential nomination. But he quickly fell behind more hard-line candidates, like Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and eventually dropped out of the race in February 2016.
Bush said that he doesn’t blame Trump for creating current political divisions in the U.S., but argued that “he’s a byproduct” of those divisions.
“We have to be civil with one another. We have to embody some sort of character, I think, or this all falls apart,” Bush said on CNBC. “Politics is a mirror of our culture, and public leaders have the responsibility to fortify the culture not to make it worse.”
Bush said that while Trump’s combative style and anti-establishment campaign attracted voters, winning is “not worth disparaging people.”
“The kind of campaign [Trump] ran would have never been successful a decade ago or in the age of Reagan and Bush, for example,” Bush said, referring to his father, former President George H.W. Bush.