Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush said Tuesday that his brother – former President George W. Bush – is “probably the most popular president amongst Republicans in this country.”
The former Florida governor was speaking on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and was responding to a question about reported comments from 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney that George W. Bush’s legacy as president would be a burden to his brother.
Jeb Bush denied that his brother has been a factor in his standing in the polls leading up to the GOP primary. An NBC News poll released Tuesday finds Donald Trump with 35 percent of the Republican vote, followed by Sen. Ted Cruz with 18 percent, and Sen. Marco Rubio with 13 percent. Bush came in at 6 percent.
“The whole idea that he’s a burden — any mistakes I’ve made are my own,” the 2016 contender added. “I’m honored to be part of that family…All the psychobabble that goes along with it, I’ve gotten over it. You guys can meditate on your navels about that — I’m not.”
“Jeb is being very loyal to his brother which is understandable and even admirable, but he’s wrong about his brother’s standing among Republicans,” Craig Shirley, presidential historian and author of Last Act: The Final Years and Emerging Legacy of Ronald Reagan, tells Breitbart News. “I would dare say that George W. is pulling up the rear far behind Reagan, Lincoln, Eisenhower and George H.W. Bush.”
“He’d be better off invoking his father than his brother,” Shirley adds. “The wounds of George W. Bush’s presidency are still open and raw, especially among conservatives and tea party devotees.”
The Washington Post reported that Romney said last year it would be difficult for Jeb Bush to go up against Hillary Clinton and to separate himself from his brother’s legacy and compare it with the Clinton presidency.
“I like Jeb a lot, I think he’d be a great president, but felt he was unfairly but severely burdened by the W. years — and when I say the W. years, it’s not only what happened to the economy, but the tragedy in Iraq.” Romney reportedly said. “A Bush-versus-Clinton head-to-head would be too easy for the Democrats.”
“I can beat Hillary Clinton,” Bush said, in response. “Mitt Romney is a great guy and I do consider him a friend…I went out to see him [and] want him to know that I was all in and had a plan to win this. I still do.”
“I have a proven record, a conservative record that brought people towards our cause rather than push them away, and Hillary Clinton needs to be taken on because of her failed record,” Bush added. “You can only do that if you have a good one.”
Bush continued by hammering GOP frontrunner Donald Trump for his admitted past support of the Clinton campaigns.
“[Trump] is a buddy of the Clintons,” Bush said. “He’s the only person on the stage who’s given money to Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton’s campaigns and their foundation. I think he’s probably the only guy who’s invited Hillary Clinton to one of his weddings… He’ll get crushed.”
However, in September of 2013 – on the eve of the first anniversary of the terrorist attack on the United States mission in Benghazi that killed four Americans – Jeb Bush awarded Hillary Clinton the Liberty Medal from the National Constitution Center – of which Bush was chairman of the board of trustees at the time.
“Former Secretary Clinton has dedicated her life to serving and engaging people across the world in democracy,” Bush said in a statement regarding his presentation. “These efforts as a citizen, an activist, and a leader have earned Secretary Clinton this year’s Liberty Medal.”