Former President George W. Bush took the stage in South Carolina this evening, leveling criticism at Republican frontrunner Donald Trump and urging them to support his brother, Jeb Bush.
“I understand Americans are angry and frustrated, but we do not need someone in the Oval Office who mirrors and inflames our frustration,” the former president said as he took the stage to wild applause and cheers from the people in the crowd.
Bush also embraced the “establishment” label used to describe his brother Jeb.
“If serving as president of the United States of America makes me a part of the so-called establishment, I proudly carry that label,” George W. Bush said. He added that there was a lot of “name calling” going on in the Republican primary.
“I want to remind you what our good dad said one time: Labeling is for soup cans,” he added, referring to his father.
Bush never said Trump’s name in his speech, but he frequently alluded to the frontrunner’s character, comparing it with his brother’s quiet demeanor, which Trump has mocked as “low energy.”
Bush also cited scripture, suggesting that a candidate like Trump was not the best person suited for the office.
Paraphrasing the book of Matthew, George W. Bush said, “How can you say, let me get that speck out of your eye when I’ve got a log in my own?”
George W. Bush praised his brother for his faith, pointing out that it “reveals itself through good works, not loud words.”
George Bush also argued that the definition of strength fit his brother and not the billionaire Republican frontrunner. “Strength is not empty rhetoric, it is not bluster, it is not theatrics,” he said. “Real strength, strength of core purpose comes from integrity and character and in my experience the strongest person isn’t the loudest person in the room.”
Bush praised his brother as a “serious,” “thoughtful” man with “quiet conviction” that was suitable for the Oval office.
“My hope is that the people of South Carolina will see this as well,” he said, proudly introducing his “big little brother” on stage.
After Jeb took the stage, he spent ten minutes defending his brother after Trump spent the last 72 hours attacking the former president.
“He didn’t know 9/11 was going to happen, but he rolled up his sleeves and he inspired us and he kept us safe,” Jeb said.
Referring to the CBS debate on Saturday, Jeb Bush marveled that it was “kind of weird” to have a Republican frontrunner talking about impeaching his brother, who was “extraordinarily popular” among Republicans.
“Some of the dialogue back and forth made me wonder, I closed my eyes and thought it was Michael Moore on the stage,” he said as the crowd laughed.
But after the brothers Bush directly challenged Trump, Jeb Bush excused himself and went on talking about his presidential campaign.
“In any case, this is not about the frontrunning candidate, this is how we can restore our country’s greatness, to restore economic and national security, and that is why I’m a candidate for president,” he said.