Jeb Bush ripped into GOP frontrunner Donald Trump at a state Republican Party presidential candidate forum in New Hampshire on Saturday.
“He’s a gifted entertainer, but he’s not a conservative,” said Bush, adopting a more aggressive strategy than other speakers, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, former CEO Carly Fiorina and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
“You have a chance to reshape this whole primary,” he said, as he ticked off Trump’s prior actions, including supporting Democrats, and backing positions on social issues that would not be considered conservative, and his endorsement of a single-payer health care system, which Bush called “Bernie Sanders’ position.”
Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz did not attend the event.
Bush criticized Trump for claiming Sen. John McCain, who had been held prisoner by the Viet Cong, was not a “war hero” because he was captured.
Bush recalled Trump’s remarks about women and immigrants, stating, “It is not strong to insult women; it is not a sign of strength when you insult Hispanics. Or when you say that a prisoner of war is a loser because they got caught.”
In contrast, Rubio hit Ted Cruz and Chris Christie on taxes, choosing to blast Barack Obama instead, citing Obama’s actions vis-à-vis gun control, immigration, education, and foreign policy.
Kasich, currently running second or third to Trump in New Hampshire polls, eschewed attacking Obama, only referring to Hillary Clinton and boasting, “She’s a fragile candidate. In the general, I’m gonna have a ball.”
On Saturday, Bush also responded to Trump attacking him for using his mother, Barbara Bush, to champion his candidacy.
Trump had tweeted, “Just watched Jeb’s ad where he desperately needed mommy to help him. Jeb — mom can’t help you with ISIS, the Chinese or with Putin.”
I love my mother. Donald Trump doesn’t know who he is messing with when he is messing with Barbara Bush. This is such a crazy world we are living in where a grown man is so insecure he feels compelled to attack everything all over — disabled, women, POWs, Hispanics. He thinks that’s the way you are going to win the presidency, by tearing everybody apart, tearing them down? That’s not a strong man. That’s a sign of a man who is deeply insecure and weak. How about that for your apples? You can feed a little political kerosene onto your process.
The New Hampshire primary will he held Feb. 9.