Although President Trump has been publicly shunned by former President George W. Bush, a number of veterans from Bush 43’s White House are finding their way into top positions of the Trump administration — a trend likely to raise concerns among Trump’s “America First” base who are keen to avoid the errors of the Republican old guard.
The Associated Press reports that Trump has installed more than three dozen former officials from the Bush administration in positions involving everything from scheduling to implementing foreign policy.
The news agency notes that two recent nominations, Alex Azar to lead Health and Human Services and Jerome Powell to serve as chairman of the Federal Reserve, are the latest moves as part of a trend that belies from Trump’s claim to be a break from the past and to drain the swamp. The news agency lists other high-profile appointees:
The Bush alums in the administration include Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who served as Bush’s labor secretary, and Dina Powell, the deputy national security adviser who oversaw presidential personnel and later served in Bush’s State Department as an assistant secretary under Condoleezza Rice. Even the president’s schedule and day-to-day operations are overseen by a former member of Bush’s inner circle: Joe Hagin, who served as deputy White House chief of staff.
Trump’s nominee for the next head of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, also worked for that agency during the Bush 43 administration. Nielsen has sparked concern from immigration hardliners over whether she shares Trump’s tough stance on borders and immigration.
There has been outright hostility between the Bushes and Trump. Trump tore into former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush during the primaries, dooming his campaign by giving him the nickname “low-energy” and tearing into the kind of Republican orthodoxy that was enacted in Bush-era policies.
The gulf between the Republican presidents was on display in a recent book, The Last Republicans, which interviewed Bush 41 and 43 and reported that neither president voted for Trump in 2016. The revelation led to a backlash from Trump supporters such as Breitbart Executive Chairman Steve Bannon.
“If [the Bushes] can’t see the basic fundamental difference between what the regime of the Clintons would be versus what President Trump offered, then I’ve got no time for them,” Bannon said last week.
Trump supporters expressed concern at the number of Bush-era officials in the Trump administration.
“If Donald Trump’s presidency fails it will be because he has perhaps inadvertently surrounded himself with” them, Roger Stone told the Associated Press.
Adam Shaw is a Breitbart News politics reporter based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamShawNY.