Eli Stokols writes in Politico on the recent reports that former President George H.W. Bush and other members of the Bush family will be voting for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. According to one source close to the Bush family, the Clintons and Bushes have a “mutual regard” for each other, as well as a “shared disgust for Trump as someone so far outside of that club” of presidential families.
Their distaste for Donald Trump was no secret. But they saw no point in publicizing it.
From Miami to Houston, Crawford to Kennebunkport, members of the Republican Party’s first family remained quiet for months, avoiding cameras and questions about presidential politics and focusing their few fundraiser appearances on assisting the GOP candidates who would be forced to share the November ballot with a nominee they detest.
But given the Bush clan’s proximity to public life, and their progeny’s desire to one day return the family to power, it was only a matter of time before their tongues would be held no longer.
For George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, who has demurred on questions about how he’ll vote in the presidential race and focused on assisting down-ballot Republicans, there is also the consideration of the bond they share with the Clintons as members of an exclusive presidential fraternity and the disaster relief work they have collaborated on as ex-presidents.
“There is a mutual regard that exists, despite their obvious political differences, between the families,” one source close to the Bush family said. “And also a mutual disregard, a shared disgust for Trump as someone so far outside of that club.”
Those close to the family also doubt that any of the Bush women will privately cast a vote for Trump. Barbara Bush campaigned for Jeb in New Hampshire and lamented Trump’s foul language and desecration of the political norms her family always abided by; and Laura Bush and her daughter, Jenna Hager Bush, have similarly expressed worries about Trump’s effect on the political discourse and pleaded the Fifth when asked if they’d be voting for Trump.
Jeb Bush, who prosecuted the case against Trump to little avail throughout the primary, has said publicly that he doesn’t plan to cast a ballot for either Trump or Clinton—a reasonable position for someone who may hold out hopes of another presidential run or a position in a GOP administration down the road should Trump lose in November and allow the party to reset itself for 2020. “I don’t know if it’s part of his thinking or not, but it would be a tough sell to the party to accept him if he’s on the record as having cast a vote for a Democratic nominee.”
The elder Bush’s admission that he plans to vote for Clinton occurred during a board meeting for the former president’s Thousand Points of Light Foundation. Kathleen Hartington Kennedy Townsend, the former Maryland lieutenant governor and daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy, asked Bush about his choice during a receiving line and got a frank answer—which she then posted to her Facebook page, prompting news reports Monday and Tuesday confirming that Bush indeed plans to vote for Clinton.
Read the rest here.