Former 2016 presidential hopeful and Florida governor Jeb Bush called for a Republican to challenge President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election bid, for the good of conservatives and for the country.
During an appearance on the podcast “The Axe Files,” hosted by CNN senior political commentator and former Barack Obama presidential campaign chief strategist David Axelrod, Bush said Republicans “ought to be a given a choice” in 2020.
“I think someone should run. Just because Republicans ought to be given a choice,” Bush told Axelrod, according to CNN.
Trump has a “has a strong, loyal base and it’s hard to beat a sitting president,” he noted. “But to have a conversation about what it is to be a conservative I think is important.”
“And our country needs to have competing ideologies that people — that are dynamic, that focus on the world we’re in and the world we’re moving towards rather than revert back to a nostalgic time,” Bush added.
.@JebBush: Republican should challenge @realDonaldTrump in ‘20.
“I think someone should run just because Republicans ought to be given a choice… It’s hard to beat a sitting President, but to have a conversation about what it is to be a conservative, I think it’s important.” pic.twitter.com/ExITI44xM0
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) March 15, 2019
As noted by CNN, Axelrod brought up a 2020 Republican challenger to Trump in the context of Bush’s own support of Governor Larry Hogan (R-MD). The Republican’s January inauguration speech sparked reports of Hogan throwing his hat in the ring come 2020 campaign time.
Hogan is “at the top of a list of leaders that I admire today because what’s happening here in Annapolis is the antithesis of what’s happening in Washington, DC, these days,” Bush said of Hogan.
“I didn’t realize I was part of his pre-campaign,” explained the former 2016 candidate. “I kind of got a sense that maybe this was an opening, at least, for (Hogan) to consider (a presidential run).”
Hogan told CNN that he has spoken to people about potentially running in 2020. “People are talking to me about it,” he said. “I’m flattered people are saying that and including me in those discussions. My focus, my plan right now is to stay here for four years and do the best job I can in Maryland, but I’ve said, ‘You never say never.’ Who knows what’s going to happen.”
Tensions between Bush and Trump often boiled during the battle for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
Trump famously branded Bush as “low energy” and mocked him for getting his “mommy” involved in the race; Bush denounced Trump as an unserious bully, among other jabs between the two.
In January 2016, for example, Trump mocked Bush for having his mother Barbara Bush appear in a campaign ad for him. “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,” Trump posted to Twitter.
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.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 23, 2016
Trump also tied the “low energy” descriptor to Bush as often as possible, such as this tweet from March, 2016: “Low energy Jeb Bush just endorsed a man he truly hates, Lyin’ Ted Cruz. Honestly, I can’t blame Jeb in that I drove him into oblivion!”
Low energy Jeb Bush just endorsed a man he truly hates, Lyin’ Ted Cruz. Honestly, I can’t blame Jeb in that I drove him into oblivion!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 23, 2016
Bush said Trump was a “candidate of chaos,” a “bully,” and “not a serious candidate” during a 2015 CNN appearance.
Bush’s appearance on “The Axe Files” is set to air on Saturday.
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) March 15, 2019