October 18th, 2015
10:50 AM ET

Jeb Bush on Trump having hand on nuclear codes: "I have grave doubts, to be honest with you."

SOTU

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Republican presidential candidate and former Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL), joined anchor, Jake Tapper.

For more information, see http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/. Also, text highlights and a transcript of the discussion are below.

MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”

 

Contacts: Lauren Pratapas — Lauren.Pratapas@turner.com; 202.465.6666; Liza Pluto – liza.pluto@turner.com

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

 

Jeb Bush on Donald Trump 9/11 remarks about former President George W. Bush: “Look, my brother responded to a crisis, and he did it as you would hope a president would do. He united the country, he organized our country and he kept us safe. And there's no denying that. The great majority of Americans believe that. And I don't know why he keeps bringing this up. It's – it doesn't show that he's a serious person as it relates to being commander in chief and being the architect of a foreign policy. Across the spectrum of foreign policy, Mr. Trump talks about things that – as though he's still on The Apprentice. I mean, literally, talking about Syria saying "ISIS should take out Assad, then Russia should take out ISIS" as though it was some kind of board game and not a serious approach is just – this is just another example of the lack of seriousness. And this is a serious time. We're under grave threats again, and I think we need a president with a steady hand.”

 

Bush’s response when asked if President Obama and Clinton are to blame for Benghazi: [TAPPER]”…But how do you respond to critics who ask if your brother and his administration bear no responsibility at all, how do you then make the jump that President Obama and Secretary Clinton are responsible for what happened at Benghazi?” [BUSH] “Well, I – the question on Benghazi, which is - hopefully we'll now finally get the truth to is was that – was the place secure? They had a responsibility, the Department of State, to have proper security. There were calls for security. It looks like they didn't get it. And how was the response in the aftermath of the attack? Was there a chance that these four American lives could have been saved? That's what the investigation is about. It's not a political issue. It's not about the broad policy; issue is were we doing the job of protecting our embassies and our consulates, and during the period, those hours after the attacks started, could they have been saved?”

 

Bush on Trump’s lack of seriousness: – I have grave doubts, to be honest with you. And it's only because of the things he says. It looks as though he doesn't – he's not taking the responsibility, the possibility of being president of the United States really seriously. For him, it looks as though it's – he's an actor playing a role of the candidate for president. Not boning up on the issues, not having a broad sense of the responsibilities of what it is to be a president.  In his own word, it gives me great concern, for sure. And a lot of other people will, as well.

 

FULL TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

 

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Now here with us in the flesh to respond is former Florida governor Jeb Bush. Governor, thanks so much for being with us.

 

JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thanks, Jake.

 

TAPPER: So what are you objecting to about Mr. Trump's remarks about 9/11 and your brother?

 

BUSH: Look, my brother responded to a crisis, and he did it as you would hope a president would do. He united the country, he organized our country and he kept us safe. And there's no denying that. The great majority of Americans believe that.

 

And I don't know why he keeps bringing this up. It's – it doesn't show that he's a serious person as it relates to being commander in chief and being the architect of a foreign policy. Across the spectrum of foreign policy, Mr. Trump talks about things that – as though he's still on The Apprentice. I mean, literally, talking about Syria saying "ISIS should take out Assad, then Russia should take out ISIS" as though it was some kind of board game and not a serious approach is just – this is just another example of the lack of seriousness. And this is a serious time. We're under grave threats again, and I think we need a president with a steady hand.

 

TAPPER: To play devil's advocate, do you think it's at all possible that your loyalty to your brother, while very admirable on a personal level, might be in some ways a political or policy liability blinding you to mistakes he made?

 

BUSH: No. I mean, so next week, Mr. Trump is probably going to say that FDR was around when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. It's what you do after that matters. And that's the sign of leadership. It's not – it's not – does anybody actually blame my brother for the attacks on 9/11? If they do, they're totally marginalized in our society. It's what he did afterward that mattered, and I'm proud of him and so are a bunch of other people. You don't have to have your last name named Bush to be able to understand that.

 

It just calls into question Mr. Trump's credibility as a commander in chief and an architect of a next – you know, the next-generation foreign policy, which we desperately need in this country right now.

 

TAPPER: Obviously, al Qaeda was responsible for the terrorist attack of 9/11. But how do you respond to critics who ask if your brother and his administration bear no responsibility at all, how do you then make the jump that President Obama and Secretary Clinton are responsible for what happened at Benghazi?

 

BUSH: Well, I – the question on Benghazi, which is - hopefully we'll now finally get the truth to is was that – was the place secure? They had a responsibility, the Department of State, to have proper security. There were calls for security. It looks like they didn't get it. And how was the response in the aftermath of the attack? Was there a chance that these four American lives could have been saved? That's what the investigation is about. It's not a political issue. It's not about the broad policy; issue is were we doing the job of protecting our embassies and our consulates, and during the period, those hours after the attacks started, could they have been saved?

 

 

TAPPER: Now, you're making some very strong statements about Donald Trump in this interview this morning. You just put out a new web ad, in fact, attacking Trump, saying he's not serious. Let's play a clip from that.

 

(VIDEO CLIP)

 

TAPPER: Now, the ad goes on to highlight or lowlight, depending on your point of view, of Trump's moments in which I'm sure you would argue, he's not being serious. In light of this new ad, let me re-ask you what I asked at the last debate: do you feel comfortable with Donald Trump's hand on the nation's nuclear codes. Your ad seems to be stating very clearly that you do not – you invoke the number of nuclear weapons the United States has.

 

BUSH: I – I have grave doubts, to be honest with you. And it's only because of the things he says. It looks as though he doesn't – he's not taking the responsibility, the possibility of being president of the United States really seriously. For him, it looks as though it's – he's an actor playing a role of the candidate for president. Not boning up on the issues, not having a broad sense of the responsibilities of what it is to be a president.

 

In his own word, it gives me great concern, for sure. And a lot of other people will, as well.

 

TAPPER: Why do you think he continues to do so well with Republican voters?

 

BUSH: Look, he's a – he's a phenomenal personality for sure. And he's capturing people's deep anger and angst about Washington, D.C. for sure. But he's not going to be able to solve these problems. He's just – he's mirroring people's anger, and he does it very effectively.  I don't think Trump is going to win the nomination.  I think we're going to have a nominee that will unite the party

 

But when people begin to think about who's going to be president of the United States, who has the judgment and the seriousness and the ideas to be president, to lead us in a different direction, I think that his support will wane.

 

 

TAPPER:  What makes you think he's not going to get the nomination?

 

He's been leading in the polls now for months.  I, just as a political reporter...

 

BUSH:  Look, it...

 

TAPPER:  - I don't see any evidence that he's not going to get the nomination.

 

BUSH:  We'll see - we'll see, Jake.  I mean this time four years ago, this time eight years ago, the conditions were very different and the nominee emerged in the - in the - in the January and February time frame.  And I expect that that will be the case case again this time.

 

TAPPER:  After campaign fundraising numbers were - were put out this week, your spokesman, Tim Miller, had a rather arch comment about your former protege, Senator Marco Rubio.  Miller tweeted, quote, "Lying about budgets, guess Marco picked up something in the Senate."

 

Them's fighting words, Governor.

 

BUSH:  Yes, I'm not - I'm not into all that.  But he - he kind of misled people about his - about his fundraising results.  That's fine.

 

Look, the process part of this is not my motivation to run.  I believe we can grow our economy at a far faster rate and have a set of concrete plans to do that.

 

And I think on foreign policy, we've done the exact same thing.  So each and every day that I campaign, I focus on those things.

 

TAPPER:  You probably watched some of the Democratic debate the other night.  You want to be the Republican...

 

BUSH:  Yes.

 

TAPPER:  - that takes on the nominee, still likely to be Hillary Clinton, according to polls.

 

How did she look to you?

 

Did she look tough?

 

Did she look beatable?

 

BUSH:  She looked beatable because of the ideas she - she embraced.  She's a - she's a - she did a good job in the debate, for sure.  She's a smart person, no doubt about that.  But every chance she had to lay out a - a different approach than the one we're on now, she actually doubled or tripled down on it - more taxes, more regulation, more creating barriers on people's ability to rise up.

 

I think there will be a stark contrast.  If I'm elected the Republican nominee, it will be a stark contrast of do you believe in the country's future with a hopeful, optimistic message that gives people capacity to achieve earned success or should we manage the decline?

 

And I'm excited about that.

 

TAPPER:  Donald Trump just pushed CNBC to commit to limiting the next Republican debate to two hours.  Now, this week, in addition to releasing your campaign finance records and your plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare, you also released your medical records, with indications that you are in good shape.  You have a quote, "capacity company complete high intensity physical activity."

 

So it sounds like you would be, at least physically, up for three hours of debate.

 

Or are you good with two?

 

BUSH:  I can do three, I can do two.  Whatever they decided, I'm ready to go.

 

TAPPER:  That...

 

BUSH:  I could do four if - if forced to, but that would be - that - mentally, that might be too much.

 

TAPPER:  Well, best of luck at that debate and we hope to see out there on the campaign trail.

 

Governor Jeb Bush, thanks for joining us.

 

BUSH:  Thanks, Jake.

 

###END INTERVIEW###

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