NEW YORK – Languishing Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush took a swipe at front-runner Donald Trump in the billionaire’s hometown Tuesday, accusing him of “talking trash” and saying he would be demolished in a general election.
“I’m the only guy confronting this,” the former governor of Florida, the son and brother of two former presidents, told an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.
“Because people are anxious about their future they’ve latched onto the large personality on the stage, but the reality is he’s not a serious candidate and he’ll get wiped out in the general election.”
He made the remarks while discussing foreign policy challenges at the Council’s imposing Manhattan premises, less than a mile from Trump’s business headquarters on Fifth Avenue.
Bush launched his bid for the White House as presumed Republican favorite but has seen his poll numbers sink to single digits as the bombastic Trump has sucked the oxygen out of his campaign.
Bush, who has often clashed with Trump at debates, took his rival to task for appearing confused when asked last month about U.S. nuclear capability and for favoring a 45 percent tax on all imports from China.
“There’s the lack of seriousness at least by the front-running candidate that I wouldn’t know what his policies are, but when he doesn’t know what the nuclear triad is, that’s cause for pause, I think,” Bush said.
“That’s not laughable. Someone who proposes a 45 percent tariff across the board on China — that is not a serious proposal, it’s basically the advocacy of a global depression that will wipe out the middle class in this country and see retaliation that will wreak havoc,” he added.
“The first objective of the president of the United States needs to be to keep us safe and you can’t keep us safe by talking trash without backing it up with serious plans.”
Bush concluded his hour-long appearance by quipping, “I didn’t insult anybody,” in another swipe at Trump’s penchant for making personal attacks on his rivals.