Calling for party unity and a desire to defeat Donald Trump, former Republican Presidential Candidate Jeb Bush announced today he is endorsing Ted Cruz for President. The endorsement comes on the heel of Cruz’ victory in Utah where he won with almost 70% of the vote.
Report from CNN:
Jeb Bush endorsed Ted Cruz on Wednesday morning, calling his former rival for the Republican presidential nomination a “principled conservative” and urging fellow Republicans to reject Donald Trump as the next GOP nominee.
“Ted is a consistent, principled conservative who has demonstrated the ability to appeal to voters and win primary contests,” Bush said in a statement provided to CNN. “Washington is broken, and the only way Republicans can hope to win back the White House and put our nation on a better path is to support a nominee who can articulate how conservative policies will help people rise up and reach their full potential.”
Bush’s endorsement of the Texas senator comes one month after he ended his own bid for the GOP presidential nomination — a campaign that failed to gain support in the shadow of Trump’s oversized personality and a fractured field that, at one time, had 17 Republican candidates actively pursuing the White House. During the campaign, Bush did not cloak his contempt for Trump, who he described as a “bully” and “not a conservative.”
Here is Cruz talking about the endorsement this morning on CNN:
I’m surprised that Bush actually made this endorsement, but I think it speaks to how strongly he wants to defeat Donald Trump. One could argue that Trump basically humiliated Bush during the primaries, sending him from “inevitable nominee,” down to “dropped out” status after just the third round of voting back in February.
Some might argue that maybe Cruz wouldn’t want Bush’s endorsement, especially since both Trump and Cruz are fighting to be “anti-establishment” candidate. If it were a few weeks ago or a month ago, I would probably agree with that sentiment. As it stands now, both Trump and Cruz are now trying to demonstrate that they can bring everyone on board with their respective campaigns, so having a nod from Jeb doesn’t hurt in that department.
One thing this may do for Cruz is open up more channels of funding. Bush raised hundreds of millions of dollars from mega-donors around the party. If he can convince a fraction of them to start pouring money into Cruz, it would be a lifeline of financial support.