You’ll face no more criticism from Donald Trump, Jeb Bush. At least, that’s the message Trump has recently been sharing in his on-screen interviews.
In talking to CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, Trump said he’s just about done talking about Bush altogether. It’s a big change because, initially, the real estate mogul talked about the former Florida governor a lot.
“I did talk about Jeb because I thought Jeb was going to be the front-runner. Obviously, he’s no longer the front-runner. I probably won’t talk about him so much anymore.”
According to the Huffington Post, Trump’s change of heart could be one of two things: Trump could feel bad for Bush, or it might be that he simply doesn’t see Bush as a threat anymore. Sam Stein, the senior politics editor for the HuffPo, wrote:
“Having spent months mocking Bush for his low energy level, this line from Trump could be either a moment of rare sympathy from the real estate tycoon-turned-candidate, or the cruelest insult yet. The former Florida governor was supposed to be the Republican juggernaut. Now, with his campaign sputtering and forced to trim payroll, he doesn’t even merit a jab from a guy who loves dishing them out?”
In the past, the Donald Trump-Jeb Bush feud has been heated. For instance, the two Republican candidates have argued about how the outcome of the Sept. 11 attacks could have been handled differently. To see some of the back and forth between Donald Trump and Jeb Bush, check out the video below.
Trump’s decision to stop attacking Bush comes as Bush sees his numbers slide in the polls. Initially, it was thought that Bush would be the front-runner for the 2016 presidential nomination, as he was leading the pack with support from 17 percent of voters in December of 2014 and January of 2015 — before he even announced his candidacy.
After that, Bush’s numbers slid until July of 2015, when he peaked with 17.8 percent support. (The higher number came shortly after Bush officially entered the race.) Since July, Bush has continually seen support slip away, and the most recent poll shows the former Florida governor with support from just 7.2 percent of voters.
At the same time, Trump has seen his support numbers dramatically increase. Trump has led the field of Republican candidates since July and saw his highest support numbers in September, when he led with support from 30.2 percent of voters.
He currently leads with support from 27.2 percent of voters, while Bush sits in fifth place behind Ben Carson, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. Bush owns support from only 7.2 percent of voters.
There has been only one other candidate who has enjoyed a meteoric rise similar to that of Donald Trump. Ben Carson surpassed Jeb Bush in support in late August and has seen his popularity rise ever since. Currently, Carson owns support from 21.3 percent voters nationwide, and he’s even surpassed Trump in support in the key state of Iowa. Carson also leads Trump in Oklahoma and Wisconsin.
As such, Trump has found a new target for his attacks in Ben Carson. On Saturday, Trump slammed Carson’s energy level — similar to the way he’s slammed Jeb Bush — while talking to supporters at the Trump National Doral Miami resort. While reading a newspaper headline, Trump said, “Donald Trump falls to second place behind Ben Carson. We informed Ben, but he was sleeping.”
On Sunday, in the same CNN State of the Union interview with Jake Tapper, Trump said that Carson simply doesn’t have the ability to work international trade circles.
“I like Ben, but he cannot do with trade like I do. He can’t do with a lot of things like I do, so we’ll just have to see what happens.”
As the poll leader in Iowa, Carson must have known attacks from Trump would be forthcoming — especially since Trump told Good Morning America that Carson would be a target before too long. (Trump added that he would enjoy attacking Carson, but hadn’t done so yet because Carson “has been so nice” to Trump.)
Carson has yet to respond to attacks from the business magnate, and in fact, Carson has said that he won’t do so at all. Carson spoke during an episode of Bloomberg’s With All Due Respect, saying, “If he does attack me, I’ll continue to talk about issues. I just really don’t buy into the attack-your-fellow-Republicans thing. I’m just not going to do that.”
Carson added that he believes Trump’s on-camera persona is different from the Trump he’s met in real life, saying “My personal interactions with him have shown him to be a gentleman. I think there’s another element sometimes when he’s on camera.”
What do you think of Donald Trump’s tendency to attack opposing political adversaries? Do you think the Donald Trump-Jeb Bush feud is really over?
[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]