Selective interpretation of former President Donald Trump’s remarks set “Jeb” trending on social media as part of a coordinated effort to ignore President Joe Biden’s mental acuity.
During a speech Monday from Summerville, South Carolina, Trump harkened back to the 2016 race and a leading competitor for the Republican presidential nomination, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Bad intentions soon collided with bad memories for those who saw an opportunity to pounce on the 77-year-old president’s cognitive ability by accusing the president of something he didn’t say.
“When I came here, everyone thought Bush was gonna win,” Trump said referring to the governor’s campaign chances in South Carolina. “And then they took a poll and they found out Trump was up by about 50 points. Everyone said what’s going on right here. They thought Bush ’cause Bush supposedly was a military person. Great. You know what he was a mil- … he got us into the, uh, he got us into the Middle East. How did that work out, right?”
“But they all thought Bush might win. Jeb. Remember Jeb. He used the word Jeb. He didn’t use the word Bush. I said, you mean he’s ashamed of the last name and then they immediately started using the name Bush, never forget it,” added Trump.
The speech led many to conclude that the president had confused Jeb Bush for former President George W. Bush and relentless attacks ensued.
Of course, at no point did Trump suggest that the governor had been president or that he was directly responsible for an invasion. In fact, CNN had reported in February 2016 after Bush had suspended his bid for the presidential nomination following the South Carolina primary, “His campaign had two main strategies as he prepared to barnstorm the state of South Carolina: focus on the military and capitalize on the Bush name fanfare.”
“[Sen. Lindsey] Graham, the state’s senior senator and an expert on the military and foreign policy issues, campaigned for Bush at nearly every event in South Carolina the past 10 days, warming up the crowds with his Southern wit and playing the role of attack dog by lambasting Trump and [Florida Sen. Marco] Rubio,” the report continued.
Furthermore, during the campaign, Bush had also referred to the fight against Islamic extremism as “the war of our time” in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris that killed dozens and injured scores more. “Radical Islamic terrorist have declared war on the western world,” he said while speaking in Nov. 2015 at the The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina. “Their aim is our total destruction. We can’t withdraw from this threat, or negotiate with it. We have but one chose: to defeat it.”
Trump himself had recently hit back against the idea of someone being “too old” for the White House and instead said of rival President Joe Biden, “I don’t think Biden’s too old. But I think he’s incompetent, and that’s a bigger problem.”
Those remarks came during an interview with NBC News’ Kristen Welker as he asserted, “there should be a competency — I’m all for the test. You know, I took a test two years ago, three years ago. And as the doctors said — and it was in front of doctors and a whole big deal at Walter Reed, which is an incredible place — and I aced it. I get everything right. I’m all for testing. I frankly think testing would be a good thing.”
Trump says Biden NOT too old just too incompetent, calls for cognitive testing for presidents https://t.co/M7IKYvEw9j pic.twitter.com/5uf5sHxf6X
— BPR (@BIZPACReview) September 20, 2023
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