Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has been frequently vexed by Donald Trump during their respective bids for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. And in a recent interview with "Face the Nation," Bush said he knows exactly who to blame for the Trump phenomenon, which has dominated the Republican primary and divided the party.
"He would not exist were it not for Barack Obama," Bush said of Trump. "He is the [antidote] in some people's minds to the politically correct, divisive policies of Barack Obama."
"At the end of the day, strength is not measured by the volume of your voice. It's measured by your fortitude. By your determination," Bush explained in the interview, which was conducted in New Hampshire. "And people, here particularly, they get to see all of the candidates in New Hampshire in these early states. When they start figuring out who do you want sitting behind the big desk, it's not going to be the entertainer-in-chief. It's going to be someone who can fit the role as commander-in-chief."
"I think the larger question for me is to be able to say that unlike Trump I am qualified to lead, that I have thoughtful views, that I have thought it through, that I seek out advice, that I know what I don't know and have the ability to recognize that and seek out best advice I can get," Bush added. "That's what a next president has to do."
Bush said he understands Trump's appeal, even if he doesn't think the bombastic businessman would be a good leader.
"Look, he's a gifted politician. And he knows exactly what to say to garner support," Bush said. "People are deeply frustrated about Washington, about how it's not working, about how it looks like people are divvying up the spoils, and the middle class has had declining income. Job growth is stagnant. There are reasons why people are angry and he's preying on that, not offering tangible solutions."
Bush also addressed a moment during the latest GOP debate when Trump glossed over a question from conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt about the nuclear triad, offering a vague response to a the question about which element of the triad - missiles, nuclear submarines, or B-52 bombers - he would prioritize as president.
"It was a pop quiz question, and he failed," Bush said of Trump's response. "Put an 'F' on the scorecard. I mean, if you don't have enough intellectual curiosity to learn about the duties of being commander in chief, how do you expect people to believe that you're going to be serious when you get there? I mean it was a question - I think Hugh Hewitt knew exactly what he was doing when he asked that question. In fact, he asked that question to every candidate on his radio show. It is a test, and he failed."