Jeb Bush: I Told You So

Jeb Bush predicted that Donald Trump would preside over a "chaos Presidency," and he was right.

Jeb Bush

For all his many faults, Jeb Bush was among the few candidates for the Republican candidates for President last year who actually spoke out against Donald Trump early and often. Unlike candidates such as Ted Cruz and Ben Carson, who were following a rather obvious strategy of cozying up to Trump in the early stages of the campaign in the hopes that he would collapse and that they would be there to pick up his supporters when he inevitably dropped out of the campaign. That never happened, of course, and while Carson ultimately dropped out, endorsed Trump, and ended up becoming Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Cruz stayed in the race in what turned out to be a quixotic effort to stop Trump from capturing a majority of the delegates at the Republican National Convention.

Bush, on the other hand, took Trump on directly in a way that few candidates did early in the campaign. Partly, this was due to the fact that it was Bush who suffered the most in the polls when Trump entered the race. Additionally, Bush was a frequent target of Trump’s often insulting barbs, including such things as calling Bush himself “low energy,” a meme that managed to stick throughout Bush’s time as a candidate, and even attacking Bush’s Mexican-American wife Columba while attacking Bush’s position on immigration. Now, Bush seems to be relishing the fact that much of his own candidacy is proving correct:

(CNN) Jeb Bush just gave the political equivalent of an “I told you so” to President Donald Trump.

“When I ran for office, I said he is a chaos candidate and would be a chaos president,” Bush said on Friday.

“Unfortunately, so far chaos organizes the presidency right now,” he said, speaking at the annual SALT hedge fund conference, which is headlined by bigwigs from the world of politics, finance, sports and entertainment.

Bush said it appears the Trump administration is “living in the tyranny of the moment” instead of “executing on a clear agenda.”

Even though Bush acknowledged he’s not on Trump’s “speed dial,” the former 2016 GOP rival of the president offered some unsolicited advice for calming things down in the White House.

“Stop tweeting,” Bush said.

The former Florida governor and Republican presidential candidate acknowledged there are benefits to Trump’s Twitter habit, including bypassing the media to get his message directly to millions of people.

But Bush warned that Trump’s tweetstorms give “our enemies all sorts of nuances and insights” into the mind of the commander in chief.

It’s unlikely that Trump will take Bush’s advice, of course, and I doubt we’ll see the former Governor or any member of the Bush family hanging out in the Oval Office anytime soon. At the same time, Bush is largely correct in his assessment of the early days of the Trump Presidency. As we stand here at Day 122, the Trump White House has proven itself to be nothing but the center of a swirling storm of chaos and incompetence, much of it due to the Chief Executive himself. On the top of the list there’s the inability of the Administration to stick to an agenda without getting distracted, but it’s obviously difficult for even the most competent staffer to do that when they’re having to deal with a boss who can throw off an agenda, or distract the media with a single off-hand remark in a speech, television interview, or Tweet. As a result, this Administration has had very few “good” weeks since taking office and, quite often, it’s been the case that even positive news has been overshadowed by other matters thanks to spouting off by the President on one matter or the other that the Administration is then required to respond and react to.

Additionally, there have been very few actual successes that the Administration can point to over the past four months. The confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is obviously one of them, but even that would have been impossible without Senate Republicans taking the historic step of eliminating the sixty-vote threshold for Supreme Court nominations. The President has signed some legislation into law, but much of it has been minor items such as the elimination of certain regulations passed by Executive Branch agencies under the provisions of the Congressional Review Act.  The one major piece of legislation that has been the focus of attention during these early days of the Administration, the American Health Care Act, failed to pass the House on its initial attempt, and only barely passed with a slim margin that suggests that any future changes could imperil its future in the House when it is inevitably changed in the Senate, where the House bill has been basically declared “Dead On Arrival.” Other promised legislation, such as a comprehensive tax reform package, immigration reform, has yet to be introduced, much less being debated in either the House or the Senate.

The ongoing Russia investigation is likely to enhance the sense of chaos coming out of the White House. The last three weeks alone have seen the White House thrown into chaos by a series of events that began with his decision to fire the Director of the F.B.I. just days after he had told a Senate committee that the Bureau was investigating Russian interference in the election and the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. Very soon after that, it became apparent that the initial justification for Comey’s firing was largely a ruse and that the real motivation may have been Trump’s frustration over that investigation. In fact, that motivation became clearer the week after Comey was fired, was basically acknowledged by Trump in interviews and Tweets, and was seemingly confirmed by remarks he made to the Russian Foreign Minister and Ambassador to the United States just one day after Comey was fired. All of this has come out in rapid succession over a period of fewer than three weeks, and now we hear that White House officials are researching impeachment, that staffers are looking to hire lawyers for the inevitable questioning that will come now that a special counsel has been appointed and Congressional investigations are gearing up, and that a ‘Senior White House Official’ has been identified as a person of interest in the investigation. If history is any guide, this all means that the chaos swirling around this President will continue and that, if anything, it will get far, far worse before it gets better. Assuming that it ever does.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Donald Trump, Politicians, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    Trump likes chaos. He ran–to use the word loosely–his business by constantly setting his minions and underlings against each other and encouraging backstabbing to ensure that everyone was loyal only to him.

    He brought that management style to the White House. Now he’s frustrated and fuming with rage because nothing’s getting done. Unfortunately, he’s too stupid to understand that his management style doesn’t work–to the extent it works at all–outside of an incestuous family-owned enterprise. Or a reality show.

  2. Barry says:

    @CSK: “Unfortunately, he’s too stupid to understand that his management style doesn’t work–to the extent it works at all–outside of an incestuous family-owned enterprise. ”

    And then what he accomplished was to run everything into the ground, and to need a bailout from Russian mafiya guys who are comfortable with informal financing.

    “Or a reality show.” Where useless drama is the only product.

  3. Pch101 says:

    Republicans have been trash talking government for years. I suppose that’s because they aren’t very good at it.

    In any case, Jeb would have done a better job of implementing lousy ideas. The well-organized execution of a bad idea doesn’t make for a good product.

  4. gVOR08 says:

    Stop tweeting

    Where would we be without Little Jebbie?’s unique insight into our situation.

  5. Tyrell says:

    What is needed is for Trump to appoint Nelson to some WH position. He would calm things down and get everyone relaxed. Then things could get done.

  6. JohnMcC says:

    @Tyrell: I’m sorry. The antecedent for your remark about this “Nelson” escapes me. Senator Bill Nelson? I’m sorry but I’m not giving up my Democratic Senator.

  7. Tyrell says:

    @JohnMcC: Okay. It is not Senator Bill Nelson. It is not Nelson who. It is our good friend Willie Nelson.

  8. Terrye Cravens says:

    Too bad Jeb did not get the nomination. He might not have won, but at least the GOP could have saved some face.

  9. michael reynolds says:

    @Tyrell:

    The entire world would be much improved if everyone ended the day with a spliff. I have never met a person who wasn’t a kinder, sweeter, better person while stoned. God knows I am.

  10. JohnMcC says:

    @Tyrell: Ha! I have to agree that Ol’ Willie would give a certain improvement to the place. One wonders if mere herbal remedies are sufficient but never mind…. Put me in mind of a time when Grace Slick was part of some sort of cultural group and that got a soiree at the White House. She got her picture taken with Mrs Nixon but never had face to face with the Pres, as she told it (and I remember it) but she said she’d brought several hits of LSD in case she had a chance to spike the coffee of the Leader of the Free World.

  11. Paul Hooson says:

    The Bush family are actually very decent people who reject extremism and things not in the good interests of the country. Their opposition to Trump was well-based in fact.

  12. Han says:

    @Paul Hooson:

    The Bush family are actually very decent people who reject extremism and things not in the good interests of the country. /

    You mean like selling arms to Iran in exchange for hostages, and using the proceeds to illegally fund the Contras?

  13. Paul Hooson says:

    @Han: I never voted for any of that family, or agree with their politics, but they are a mainstream Republican family, representing mainstream conservative values. – I’m a liberal Jewish Democrat by comparison, but respect others when they are constructive…

  14. Paul Hooson says:

    @Han: I never voted for any of that family, or agree with their politics, but they are a mainstream Republican family, representing mainstream conservative values. – I’m a liberal Jewish Democrat by comparison, but respect others when they are constructive…

  15. Paul Hooson says:

    @Han: Wasn’t that actually Reagan, and not Bush who did that arms for hostages thing?

  16. SC_Birdflyte says:

    As to “low energy”: I’ve seen information online (site not mentioned because I’m unsure of its fidelity to the truth) that DT was complaining, after two days of his first trip abroad, that he was exhausted. I guess that’s why he prefers to meet foreign leaders at Mar-a-Lago.