Yesterday, Donald Trump won his biggest victory yet, a decisive triumph in Florida’s winner-take-all primary. With the win, the tycoon’s hostile takeover of the Republican Party becomes overwhelmingly likely.
Where was Jeb Bush during the battle for his home state’s primary? He was pouting.
Spinning Bush’s failure to endorse his one-time protege Marco Rubio (whom he once touted for the vice presidency), or another non-Trump candidate, the former governor’s confidante Al Cardenas said:
[Bush] put his heart and soul in this race, and the outcome was disappointing to him. You get emotionally drained, and you just want to stay off the grid for a while. If you support someone, you have to go out there and work for the candidate, and I think the governor just wanted to take some time off. He has no more political aspirations beyond what he’s tried.
What nonsense. Bush could have endorsed another candidate without going on the campaign trail. In any event, is Bush so heartbroken that he couldn’t have showed up at a rally or two?
The fact that Bush, thankfully, “has no more political aspirations beyond what he’s tried” doesn’t mean he shouldn’t try to block Donald Trump’s dangerous aspirations. At this point, it shouldn’t be about Bush; it should be about the country.
Most likely, the main reason Bush didn’t endorse Rubio is pettiness. As one Florida operative told the Washington Times, Rubio had a “snowball’s chance in hell,” of getting Bush’s backing after his “ultimate betrayal” of entering the 2016 race.
In addition, I suspect, Bush saw Trump’s big Florida victory coming. Having already been trounced by Trump, he didn’t want the additional indignity of seeing the fat cat romp to victory in Bush’s home state in the face of Bush’s endorsement of a rival candidate.
Whatever Bush’s motive — pique, face-saving, or fatigue — his unwillingness to stand against Trump is unforgivable. Bush talks a high-minded game, but when push came to shove he put his own interests and feelings ahead of the national interest.
Chris Christie and Ben Carson — who also put their heart and soul in the race — have endorsed Trump. In doing so, they embarrass themselves. But at least they are in the arena pushing for the candidate of their choice.
Bush’s refusal to take a stand is more embarrassing. You could even call it a disgrace.