If you thought the feud between Jeb Bush and Donald Trump had cooled, you thought wrong. During the 9th GOP debate in South Carolina, they laid into each other so badly, and so much, it was almost like a cage match. It was ridiculous. They should just mud wrestle to settle their differences. Jeb tried to keep himself composed (and was only partially successful) while Trump flew off the handle like the man-child he is, and they fought about everything from ISIS and Syria to 9-11 and George W. Bush.
Their first sparring match came when moderator John Dickerson posed a question to Jeb Bush about whether defeating ISIS also requires defeating Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. Jeb believes that we need to take Assad out, which means we can’t work with Russia on this. That, in his view, makes Trump’s plan bad (he’s not wrong).
Things went south from there:
“TRUMP: … We’re supporting troops
BUSH: … Let me finish….
TRUMP: …that we don’t even know who they are.
DICKERSON: … OK, settle…
BUSH: …This is ridiculous…
TRUMP: … We’re supporting troops that we don’t even know who they are…
DICKERSON: … Alright, Mr. Trump, alright…
TRUMP: We have no idea who they are.
DICKERSON: Gentleman, I think we’re going to leave that there. I’ve got a question for Senator…
BUSH: … This is coming from a guy who gets his foreign policy from the shows.
TRUMP: … Oh, yeah, yeah…
BUSH: … This is a guy who thinks that Hillary Clinton is a great negotiator in Iran…
TRUMP: … Let 44 million in New Hampshire, it was practically (INAUDIBLE)…
BUSH: … This is a man who insults his way to the nomination…
TRUMP: … 44 million — give me a break.”
But wait! More came when the topic turned to Jeb’s brother, the man who got us into all these messes in the Middle East. Specifically, Dickerson was asking whether the candidates felt that George W. Bush should have been impeached. Trump went on the attack, and Jeb took offense to it. Cue Round Two, where Trump actually gets in a terrific dig:
“BUSH: And, frankly, I could care less about the insults that Donald Trump gives to me. It’s blood sport for him. He enjoys it. And I’m glad he’s happy about it. But I am sick and tired…
TRUMP: He spent $22 million in…
BUSH: I am sick and tired of him going after my family. My dad is the greatest man alive in my mind.
BUSH: And while Donald Trump was building a reality TV show, my brother was building a security apparatus to keep us safe. And I’m proud of what he did.
BUSH: And he has had the gall to go after my brother.
TRUMP: The World Trade Center came down during your brother’s reign, remember that.
BUSH: He has had the gall to go after my mother. Hold on. Let me finish. He has had the gall to go after my mother.
TRUMP: That’s not keeping us safe.
BUSH: Look, I won the lottery when I was born 63 years ago, looked up, and I saw my mom. My mom is the strongest woman I know.
TRUMP: She should be running.
BUSH: This is not about my family or his family. This is about the South Carolina families that need someone to be a commander-in- chief that can lead. I’m that person.”
To get the full fire of these exchanges, watch below at the 21:00 and 26:00 marks, and try not to dive into the screen to send them both to bed without their dinners:
It got so bad that Governor John Kasich of Ohio had to say something, but not on the Iraq war, on George W. Bush, or even on ISIS. Kasich gave his opinion of the way these two insist on behaving:
“DICKERSON: Governor Kasich, please weigh in.
KASICH: I’ve got to tell you, this is just crazy, huh?
KASICH: This is just nuts, OK? Jeez, oh, man. I’m sorry, John.”
It was embarrassing, and he was embarrassed, and who can blame him? The way that Jeb and Trump go after each other on stage, in a formal debate, is ridiculous. It’s insane. These are grown men acting like kids in the schoolyard in front of the whole world. Jeb got so upset that he disinvited Trump to his rally in South Carolina, and Trump acted like it didn’t matter. Oddly enough, Trump didn’t immediately take to Twitter to blast Jeb, as is his usual modus operandi when someone makes him mad.
That won’t last, though. It will probably get worse, but at least it’s got entertainment value for now.
Image via screen capture from embedded videos