The senior presidential campaign staff of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush—including his campaign manager—can’t manage to point to a single thing billionaire and GOP frontrunner Donald Trump has said about Bush that is untrue.
This development comes after Bush attacked Trump in Spanish in Miami. According to an English translation, Bush accused Trump of daily saying “not true” things about him—thing he called “barbarities.”
“He attacks me every day. He attacks me every day with barbarities. They’re not true,” Bush said in Spanish, according to the Washington Post, while in Miami.
What we did today was to put out in his words to show that he’s not conservative. He supports people like Nancy Pelosi. He’s given money to Hillary Clinton. He was a Democrat longer than Republican. He’s said that he’s more comfortable being a Democrat. He doesn’t have a record, because he hasn’t been a person who has served like me, who served for eight years as governor. He’s not a conservative. That’s my point.
Asked Wednesday afternoon for a specific example—even just one—of Trump saying something untrue about Bush during the entire presidential campaign, Bush’s campaign manager Danny Diaz and communications director Tim Miller couldn’t provide one to Breitbart News.
That’s not to say that there isn’t such an example out there—there could be, and the staff may not have been able to find it. But over the course of several hours and multiple email conversations, the best Diaz and Miller could come up with were two right-of-center commentators arguing that Trump’s latest video ripping Bush’s “act of love” illegal immigration comments was misleading.
“This is disgusting and misleading. It makes the Willie Horton ad look like child’s play,” Matt Lewis, a blogger for The Daily Caller website, wrote via Twitter about Trump’s video.
“Pretty brutal but honest,” the Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes said of Bush’s response video, which compiled various Trump comments in the past in support of liberal beliefs he had years ago.
“So far, and I went to the Frank Luntz focus group last week, and nearly all of the people in it—there were 29—supported Trump in one manner or another, didn’t care about what Trump had said before,” Barnes continued.
But they really hadn’t seen a package like that, particularly about the Clintons. They just heard he had once said ‘I was for single payer and so on.’ I think that’s a pretty strong ad and an honest ad unlike the one Trump had done I think yesterday that had these criminals likening them to what Jeb Bush had said it was an ‘act of love’ to come to the United States as an immigrant. He was talking about somebody bringing his family there so they could have a decent life and prosper. He wasn’t talking about these criminals, obviously. But this ad—look, I think you got to give credit to Bush. All the rest of them, all the other candidates are hiding in the knee holes of their desks and he is out with a tough ad.
Obviously, those are not factual examples of Trump saying something provably untrue about Bush. Those are two commentators’ opinions about Trump’s Instagram video which spliced Bush’s “act of love” comments about illegal aliens breaking into the United States against images of convicted killers who were illegal aliens.
Diaz also provided Breitbart News with a link to a video of Bush, appearing on Fox News, responding to Trump’s immigration video.
“We need to secure our border and I have a comprehensive plan to do just that,” Bush says in the video.
I’ve talked to the governors on the border—I was a border governor because we have a lot of immigration coming from the south. I’ve talked to a lot of local law enforcement officers and people—and I have a plan to be able to secure the border. That’s the thing we ought to be focusing on, not grandiose language, not mischaracterizing people’s views. That little ad was a complete mischaracterization of my thinking. It’s almost as though Donald Trump is acting as a Washington politician. That’s what they do. Look, and the simple fact is, our ad simply uses his own language—his own words—to say that he is more Democrat than a Republican. That he’s for higher taxes rather than cutting taxes, that he’s for a single payer healthcare system, that he’s not only pro choice but he believes in partial birth abortion. Those are his words not mine.
Again, this video from Bush is interesting commentary from the Florida governor and certainly a newsworthy section of an interview he gave to Fox News. But it does not represent any evidence that Trump has something that is “not true” about Bush. It is just Bush’s belief that Trump mischaracterized his viewpoint.
For Bush to claim that Trump is saying things about him that are “not true” is a serious allegation. It’s normal for candidates to joust, sometimes fairly roughly, but accusing your opponent of lying—or at the very least saying things that are not accurate with the intent to harm your opponent—is a new level in this race. For now, Bush’s team can’t back up the candidate’s allegation with any concrete evidence whatsoever. That may come out in the future, but nonetheless, Bush’s decision to sink to this level with demonstrable evidence to support his allegations against Trump could end up backfiring even more.
Trump has already battled several other candidates in the 2016 race, and each time he has those opponents—everyone from former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to even Bush in the past—have seen a drop off in polling. The candidates who aren’t fighting with Trump—Dr. Ben Carson and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), chief among them—have performed relatively well in polling and are now instead considered among the top tier in polling.
It remains to be seen what happens next, but the latest saga in the Trump-Bush feud was Trump’s Wednesday interview with Breitbart News in which he hammered Bush for speaking Spanish instead of English during that press conference.