GOP leader: Biden will be the 'Jeb Bush of this cycle'

House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyThe Hill's Morning Report: Trump walks back from 'send her back' chants History in the House: Congress weathers unprecedented week EU official in Canada says he feels 'at home' there because no one was shouting 'send him back' MORE on Thursday panned Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden compares Trump to George Wallace Sanders unveils plan to guarantee the 'right to a secure retirement' CNN Democratic debate drawing finishes third in cable news ratings race MORE's prospects in the 2020 Democratic presidential race, calling the former vice president the “Jeb Bush of this cycle.”

“I think Biden, no disrespect, is the Jeb Bush of this cycle,” the California Republican said at an Axios event. “I think he could have run at a different time and he would have been the nominee. I think he has too much to apologize for.”

McCarthy argued that Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGabbard arrives in Puerto Rico to 'show support' amid street protests Democratic strategist predicts most 2020 candidates will drop out in late fall Sanders unveils plan to guarantee the 'right to a secure retirement' MORE (I-Vt.), who has trailed Biden in recent national polls, “has a much better chance” of winning the Democratic nomination. He noted that candidates need an energized base to sustain and fund their campaigns, saying Sanders “has a bigger base for a longer duration of the time."

ADVERTISEMENT

Bush, the former governor of Florida, entered the 2016 Republican presidential primary as a heavy favorite, given his high name recognition as the brother and son of two former presidents as well as his breadth of experience serving as the governor of a swing state.

But then-candidate Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpUS-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' Trump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Matt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' MORE repeatedly mocked him as “low energy” and the former governor's big-dollar campaign failed to break through the large GOP field. Bush dropped out of the race in February 2016 after a poor showing in the South Carolina primary.

Asked on Thursday about the presidential bid of his home-state senator, Democrat Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisWhat to expect when Mueller testifies: Not much Biden compares Trump to George Wallace CNN Democratic debate drawing finishes third in cable news ratings race MORE, McCarthy said he hoped that the first-term California senator would “accomplish something” and gain more experience in Congress before running for president.