Former Florida governor Jeb Bush continued his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination this morning by further distancing himself from his unpopular sibling.
In an interview on Good Morning America, Jeb Bush finally admitted that although he loves his brother George W. Bush dearly, the former two-term president is sometimes “an idiot”
In the studio to promote his recent book, the younger Bush faced questions about his U-turn on immigration reform, his family’s political legacy, and his plans for 2016. The highlight came, however, when George Stephanopoulos asked Jeb about his thoughts on his brother’s presidency.
“You have to admit though,” Stephanopoulos asked, “That whatever your political leanings, your brother George W. Bush wasn’t the brightest president we’ve ever had.”
“Well you know I love my brother,” Jeb responded, “I think he’s a wonderful person. But we’ve always said in my family that George got the looks and I got the brains.
“He made a lot of mistakes as president, there’s no question. But he didn’t make those mistakes because he’s a bad guy. My brother, he’s just an idiot sometimes. But deep down, he has a good soul.”
Heckuva Job Jeb
Pressed to list his brother’s mistakes, Jeb repeated some familiar laments of the Bush years:
“Obviously Katrina was an embarrassment. We should have done more quicker. And I think the war in Iraq could have been planned better at the very least.
“But my biggest concern about my brother’s legacy is what his presidency did to our standing around the world. My father presided over the end of the Cold War and left office with pro-Americanism rising everywhere.
“In the mid-2000’s it was disheartening to see how far we had fallen. There were American tourists in Europe and Asia pretending to be Canadian.”
“Why do you think George W. Bush’s presidency was such a failure?” Stephanopoulos brazenly asked.
“Well, hold on there a minute,” Jeb objected, “I never said his presidency was a failure. My brother had a lot of accomplishments. Taxes were lower than they had ever been, the economy had six straight years of solid growth, and I’ll….well I’l think of a third one later.
“But as to your question, I think there were people around my brother – Dick Cheney was one, Paul Wolfowitz was another – who used his naïveté and inexperience to manipulate policy for their own ends.
“So I think its a mixed legacy, and I’d like to remind the American people that I have different views than my brother, I have more executive level experience, and – most importantly – I am my own person.”
Jeb Bush served as Florida’s governor from 1999 to 2007 and is often mentioned as a possible 2016 presidential candidate. He the author of the recent book Immigration Wars: Forging An American Solution.