Nationally syndicated conservative radio host Mark Levin, a former official in President Ronald Reagan’s administration, is calling on former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to answer whether he stands with House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Majority Whip Steve Scalise in the wake of a blistering Scalise scandal concerning his longtime ties to a top aide to former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke.
“We’ve had nonstop Jeb Bush talk the last two weeks,” Levin said in an email to Breitbart News late Tuesday evening. “Is there a reason why he’s silent now about the GOP leadership debacle in the House? They are his supporters after all.”
Reached earlier in the day by phone, Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said, when asked for her boss’s thoughts on the scandal, that she hadn’t spoken with Bush about it yet. But she promised to track him down sometime on Tuesday and get a statement to Breitbart News about it later in the day—a statement that still hasn’t materialized.
Levin’s right that Bush’s silence about this GOP leadership scandal is intriguing since Bush was the talk of the political world in the days leading up to this scandal. Right after he announced he was actively exploring a run for the presidency in 2016, he topped a CNN-ORC poll of potential GOP candidates.
The poll found Bush far and away leading the pack of potential GOP candidates in a primary, with 23 percent of support. The next best potential candidate was New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie with 13 percent, followed by Dr. Ben Carson with 7 percent and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee tied with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) with 6 percent.
The poll also found a whopping 42 percent of respondents believe that Bush’s characterization of illegal immigration as an “act of love” would make them “less likely to support” Bush, while only 20 percent said it means they’d be “more likely to support” him. In addition, 38 percent of respondents said Bush’s position that illegal immigration is an “act of love” made “no difference” in their decision on whether to support him.
Bush’s announcement that he’s looking to run and the mainstream media’s obsession with a potential matchup with Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton—a rematch of the Bush and Clinton political dynasties that dominated the 1990s—spawned fawning profiles of him in outlets like Time magazine.
But, since early Monday afternoon when the Scalise scandal first broke, Bush has gone missing from the political narrative—and seems to be trying to sit out the racially-tinged incident where an establishment Republican and member of Congressional GOP leadership has come under fire from all sides for his alleged ties to top KKK officials in Louisiana.
Not only did Scalise speak at a 2002 event hosted by one of Duke’s organizations, he has—according to Duke and Duke’s top political aide Kenneth Knight—been in close contact for nearly a decade with Knight. Scalise’s flimsy answers about the 2002 event have sparked calls for his resignation—and for Boehner’s resignation—from major political powerhouses across the political spectrum. He essentially claims he didn’t know Duke was behind the group that hosted the event he spoke at, and he didn’t have a scheduler or Google—despite Google being launched in the late 1990s and widely available along with other search engines by 2002—to vet the organization.
What’s more is that Boehner and McCarthy threw their weight behind Scalise, publicly defending him in coordinated statements right as more news showed Scalise actually had a longtime personal and political relationship with Duke’s top aide Knight. Duke was the KKK’s grand wizard for a time, and Knight later became his campaign manager in his quests for various political offices. Knight actually helped Scalise get elected in 2008 to the House of Representatives by donating $1,000 to his campaign and making phone calls on his campaign’s behalf to potential voters.
Breitbart News has reached out to Bush’s communications director many times throughout the day on Tuesday since that first promise for a statement on whether he stands with Scalise and the other GOP leadership officials after this—but phone calls and emails have been ignored.