OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Former GOP presidential contender Jeb Bush appears set to face off against former President Donald Trump ahead of the 2024 Republican primaries, but not quite in the same way.
Even as Trump proclaims that today’s GOP is no longer the Republican Party of a decade ago, Bush is lining up on the side of who may become Trump’s strongest challenger — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Trump boldly claimed that the Republican Party is “never going back to the party of Paul Ryan, Karl Rove, and Jeb Bush” during his Saturday speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), as reported by Breitbart News.
“We had a Republican Party that was ruled by freaks, neocons, globalists, open border zealots, and fools, but we are never going back to the party of Paul Ryan, Karl Rove, and Jeb Bush!” Trump declared.
President Trump: “We had a Republican Party that was ruled by freaks, neocons, globalists, open border zealots, and fools, but we are never going back to the party of Paul Ryan, Karl Rove, and Jeb Bush!” pic.twitter.com/qP59PZw8vN
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) March 4, 2023
Meanwhile, Bush, a former Florida governor, appeared to throw his support behind a DeSantis candidacy.
“There are people in public life that are kind of check-the-box politicians, and then there are others they want to serve, and Governor DeSantis is one of those,” Bush said during a Fox Nation special on DeSantis.
Bush reminisced about his father, George H.W. Bush, and DeSantis, highlighting their shared experience as captains of the Yale baseball team. Interviewer Brian Kilmeade also asked Bush about DeSantis, who has expressed admiration for Bush Sr., saying he approved of the way the GOP governor handled criticisms during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“They were trying to set him up, and he knew it. And he punched him in the nose,” Bush said, praising DeSantis’s overall response to several crises in the state during his time as governor.
Though DeSantis has not declared his candidacy, Bush was asked if he thinks now is the time for the governor to make a run.
“I think it is. He’s been a really effective governor. He’s young. I think we’re on the verge of a generational change in our politics– I kind of hope so. I think it’s time for a more forward-leaning future-oriented conversation or politics as well,” Bush said.
Jeb Bush’s full endorsement of Ron DeSantis pic.twitter.com/bPCrw53taU
— ProfessorMaxwell (@Professor__Max) February 25, 2023
During his speech at CPAC, Trump provided a list of several groups that he aims to free the United States from, labeling them as “villains and scoundrels.” They include globalists, communists, and the mainstream media, which he refers to as the “fake news.”
With you at my side, we will demolish the deep state. We will expel the warmongers. They are people that don’t get it, although in some cases they get it, they get it for their wallets, but we can’t do that. We can’t let that happen. We will drive out the globalists, we will cast out the communists. We will throw off the political class that hates our country. They actually hate our country.
No walls, no borders. Bad elections, no voter ID. We will beat the Democrats. We will route the fake news media, we will expose and appropriately deal with the RINOs. We will evict Joe Biden from the White House, and we will liberate America from these villains and scoundrels once and for all.
He went on to talk about how he has helped to transform the GOP since he jumped into the party in 2015 to begin his run for the presidency:
When we started this journey, a journey like there has never been before, there’s never been anything like this, we had a republican party that was ruled by freaks, Neocons, globalists, open borders, zealots and fools, but we are never going back to the party of Paul Ryan, Karl Rove and Jeb Bush.
He also lambasted politicians, including some Republicans, who seek to “destroy our great social security system.”
“We’re not going back to people that want to destroy our great social security system. Even some in our own party, I wonder who that might be, that want to raise the minimum age of social security to 70, 75, or even 80,” Trump said, appearing to reference his former Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, who also spoke at the gathering on Friday, saying the next Republican president should work in entitlement reforms.