Bush disdains Trump as ‘agitator’ lacking experience
By Samantha-Rae Tuthill | December 9, 2015, 14:36 EDT
HOOKSETT, N.H. – A day after calling Donald Trump “unhinged” over his comments on barring Muslim immigrants and travelers from America, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told a public gathering on Tuesday that Trump, who leads many Republican presidential primary polls, really isn’t a serious a contender for the White House.
Bush explained that Trump lacks the track record needed to win against Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, a former Secretary of State, U.S. Senator and First Lady.Asked if he would endorse Trump, were the reality TV star and businessman to win the Republican presidential nomination, Bush said that he “rejected the idea out of hand.”
Voters in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation GOP primary, Bush said, will pick “a real leader.” Bush, the son and brother of former presidents, trails Trump in voter surveys by more than 20 percentage points, according to a RealClear Politics average of recent polls. Trump, a billionaire New York developer, averages about 28 percent to Bush’s 6.8 percent support.
The American people need a commander in chief and not “an agitator in chief,” Bush said, in a veiled reference to Trump, at the town-hall style meeting which mostly focused on foreign policy, immigration and military goals in the Mideast following the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California.
On immigration, Bush has modified his stance on letting Syrian refugees settle in the U.S., as hundreds of thousands have died in the war-torn country, where Islamic State has taken over some territory, as have other combatants fighting to remove the government of President Bashar al-Assad. U.S. and allied forces are conducting air strikes on Islamic State targets there as well.
Bush backed a pause in new Syrian refugee resettlements until security screening procedures can be improved, a position taken by many governors, including New Hampshire’s Maggie Hassan, a Democrat, after the Nov. 13 Paris attack. Bush said that the American people have “cause to be concerned” about terrorists sneaking into the U.S. by masquerading as refugees.
In October, Bush had responded to a tearful Syrian-American at a similar meeting in Bedford, New Hampshire, telling her that he was empathetic to the plight of Syrian refugees and that America was “duty-bound” to provide support. After the Paris attack, which the Islamic State said it sponsored, officials said it appeared that at least one of the perpetrators had arrived in Europe posing as a Syrian refugee.
Earlier Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, called for a tighter screening process for Syrian and Iraqi refugees. Islamic State, he said, “has said in their own words that they want to exploit the refugee process to infiltrate the West, and they did exactly that to attack Paris. I can also reveal today that the U. S. government has information to indicate that individuals tied to terrorist groups in Syria have already attempted to gain access to our country through the U. S. refugee program.”
At the Hooksett meeting later that day, Bush said he still stands behind his support for refugees, who are often fleeing violence in their home countries perpetrated by the enemies of the U.S.
Bush called for more U.S. military intervention to help unite forces in Syria fighting Islamic State terrorists lodged there. His plan includes training and arming Kurdish fighters and creating a haven for refugees within Syria, so those who are displaced there can remain in their country.
On a related matter, Bush joined Republicans in Congress who have called for limitations on U.S. visa waivers. Their concern is that even friendly countries may have radicalized citizens who could try to take advantage of the current system permitting easy entry into the U.S.
Late Tuesday, lawmakers in the House voted 407-19 to tighten the rules on U.S. entry by foreign nationals, including a requirement that anyone from one of the 38 countries where visas aren’t required to obtain one if they had traveled to Iraq or Syria in the previous five years, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.
Visas aren’t required for visitors from the 38 countries, which include Belgium and France, as long as they don’t plan to stay more than 90 days, AP reported. Most of the Paris attackers were either from Belgium or France itself, the news service noted.
Who would you like to see become the next president of the United States?
Bush, Jeb (R)
Carson, Ben (R)
Christie, Chris (R)
Clinton, Hillary (D)
Cruz, Ted (R)
Fiorina, Carly (R)
Gilmore, Jim (R)
Graham, Lindsey (R)
Huckabee, Mike (R)
Kasich, John (R)
O’Malley, Martin (D)
Pataki, George (R)
Paul, Rand (R)
Rubio, Marco (R)
Sanders, Bernie (D)
Santorum, Rick (R)
Trump, Donald (R)
None of the above