Jeb Bush Endorses Ron DeSantis for President, and His Supporters Couldn’t Be Less Thrilled

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Jeb Bush — remember him? — has endorsed Ron DeSantis for President. The comments came during a February 26th interview with FOX News Channel’s Brian Kilmeade.


Transcribing the clip:

BUSH: … think it’s pretty remarkable.

KILMEADE (Narration): And he hasn’t declared yet. Many in the Republican Party hope he soon will.

KILMEADE (to Bush): Is this Ron DeSantis’ opportunity to run for higher office?

BUSH: 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 in our politics as well.

KILMEADE (to Bush): Which has made him, should he choose to run for President, a serious contender in Republican politics.

BUSH: And who better to do it than someone who’s been outside of Washington; who’s governed effectively, who I think has shown that Florida can be a model for the future of our country?

While not precisely waving a DeSantis 2024 flag, it’s clear from where Bush is coming.

Multiple angles to consider. Remember that Bush was one of the, if not the, leading candidate for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination pre-Trump. Bush was, and remains, revered by the GOP old guard. His NeverTrump credentials are unquestionable. However, the few NeverTrumpers remaining despise DeSantis with as much, if not more, fervor than Trump. To have one of their patron saints praise DeSantis must be inducing large-scale wailing and gnashing of teeth.


Since DeSantis has yet to announce if he will run in 2024, his present course of openly ignoring Trump’s attacks against him has no pitfalls. One suspects that if DeSantis does run, Trump will wield Bush’s endorsement as a bludgeon against DeSantis, associating him with the selfsame establishment neocon military foreign involvement lovers to which Trump stands in direct opposition. That would require a precise response on DeSantis’ part to simultaneously assure establishment Republicans he isn’t Trump II while making his case to conservative voters thoroughly disgusted with the old boy network that he is citizen-oriented first and last.

As outlined above, the thought of denying Trump a second go-round as President must warm Bush’s heart. However, surely he knows he risks alienating potential DeSantis voters by associating himself with him in any form. The only less desirable endorsements would be from Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, and Paul Ryan. Include Liz Cheney as well. These are anathema to conservatives desiring leaders who walk the talk about reining in government spending and overreach into people’s lives. DeSantis has no hesitancy in taking the fight to entities opposing personal liberty, whether businesses pushing a woke agenda or government branches seeking the same. Does this sound like something a Bush would do? No. While Bush wants to get back at Trump for denying him the office once believed to be firmly in his grasp, attempting to do it vicariously through DeSantis seems more fraught with risk via backfire potential than reward through trying to put another Ronald in the White House. Who, come to think of it, wasn’t terribly popular with the GOP old guard of his day.



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