An emergency Bush family meeting is scheduled for this weekend in Houston, Texas, as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s 2016 presidential campaign falls apart.
In Houston, former Presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush—and former First Lady Barbara Bush—will huddle with the third Bush family member seeking to ascend to the presidency, Jeb.
The meetings will also include several campaign fundraisers with top high-dollar Texas donors, as the two former presidents seek to jump-start a stalled Jeb campaign.
“As Jeb Bush heads to Texas on Sunday to rally top fundraisers along with his father and brother, former presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, the family’s vaunted financial network is mostly disengaged and splintered—and his campaign stock is falling,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
There in Houston—where Jeb grew up, the Wall Street Journal notes—he will “rally his biggest backers.”
“About 170 donors who have each raised at least $50,000 are expected to attend social gatherings and strategy briefings over two days,” the WSJ’s Rebecca Ballhaus and Christopher Stewart wrote. “Those who have raised at least $175,000 will have the most access to the Bush family, including a reception with former President George H.W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush.”
The emergency Bush meetings come as he’s struggling in most polls after longtime GOP frontrunner Donald Trump—who has remained at the top of all polls for 100 days, but is himself experiencing a bit of a slip in Iowa behind fellow outsider Dr. Ben Carson—has successfully tormented his campaign with labels like “low-energy” and attacking Bush’s support for open borders immigration and amnesty for illegal aliens.
What’s more, Bush’s free falling campaign has ordered what Bloomberg News describes as “across-the-board pay cuts” for all of its staff. Such a move is viewed by many in politics as an act of desperation and a sign of impending doom for a campaign, as it is proof positive that the effort has failed to raise enough money for its previously budgeted projections for operation size—all while failing to reach political goals.
“The campaign is removing some senior staff from the payroll, parting ways with some consultants, and downsizing its Miami headquarters to save more than $1 million per month and cut payroll by 40 percent this week, according to Bush campaign officials who requested anonymity to speak about internal changes,” Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin and Michael Bender reported:
The campaign is also cutting back 45 percent of its budget, except for dollars earmarked for TV advertising and spending for voter contacts, such as phone calls and mailers. Some senior-level staff and consultants will continue to work with the campaign on a volunteer basis, while other junior-level consultants, primarily in finance but including other areas, will be let go, the officials said. The officials declined to say who would be removed from the payroll or provide an exact dollar figure for the savings.
What’s perhaps most shocking is an open admission by the Bush campaign—in a talking points document provided to Bloomberg—that they have been blindsided by the rise of Trump. It’s an incredible admission of ignorance in the 2016 race that the political consultants now in danger of extinction on the Bush campaign are making.
“It’s not secret that the contours of this race have changed from what was anticipated at the start,” the talking points document from the Bush campaign reads, before referencing Trump without naming him. “We would be less than forthcoming if we said we predicted in June that a reality television star supporting Canadian-style single-payer health care and partial-birth abortion would be leading the GOP primary.”