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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Gov. Jeb Bush discusses Politics, 2016 Election and future of GOP

Photo by Photo by Rachel Grant

When asked about President Elect, Donald Trump, Bush said he will be praying for him as president.

Former Florida Governor and most recently a former GOP candidate for President, Jeb Bush is teaching a course on governorship at the Bush School over the winter break. Battalion Life & Arts editor Josh McCormack sat down with the governor-turned-professor to discuss his entry to the political realm, the 2016 election and the future of politics in America.

Following the 2016 Republican primary race, the former Governor of Florida Jeb Bush has stepped out of public attention to teach a class at Texas A&M at the Bush School of Government and Public Service, which is named after his father, while his toughest opponent, President-Elect Donald Trump, is days away from being sworn into office. Gov. Bush said he hopes nothing but the best for the soon to be Commander and Chief.

“Campaigning is one thing — governing is another and I want him to succeed,” Gov. Bush said.

Gov. Bush, who announced his campaign in December of 2014, reflected on his bid for nomination and after his drop from the race, the election as a whole.

“So it was a very competitive race,” Gov. Bush said. “[President-Elect Trump] won, so I don’t think reliving the past is particularly appropriate right now. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt. Let’s see how he performs. I hope he embraces the hopeful optimistic conservative agenda that drains the swamp, to use his language which was a pretty good phrase, and brings the power back to families, communities and the states.”

When discussing the future for President-Elect Donald Trump, Gov. Bush said he hopes the future Commander and Chief would focus on the economy to bring about growth in that sector.  

“Well, first of all, I would hope that the President-Elect is strong and quick in the lower hanging fruit opportunities that he has,” Gov. Bush said. “I would say regulatory relief, there is much that he can do by appointing men and women who understand the balance between a public good and economic benefits for all. On the whole rulemaking side, we’ve stifled the entrepreneurial spirit of the country. I think the President-Elect gets that and that’s a place where he has ample room to run without a whole lot of opposition.”

In his thoughts on the future of America’s state of foreign policy, Gov. Bush said he is hopeful that President-Elect Trump will use the people around him to bring about a clearer and firmer stance for other countries to see.

“The world kind of depends on the United States in some ways,” Gov. Bush said. “When we behave erratically there is no good news out there. Based on who he has appointed in the foreign policy realm, I think they are high quality people, I think they will help the president understand that unpredictability isn’t that good for foreign policy. So, I’m looking forward to a week from Tuesday – we’ll have a new president and my guess is that he will feel compelled to lay out the Trump doctrine. When he does, some will like it some won’t, but at least there will be clarity.”

When discussing his run for President in the 2016 election, Gov. Bush noted that early on in his political career he made the decision to live by a set of steadfast guidelines.

“I had a rule that applied when I was running for governor that the same principle applies with a different twist to it [when running for President] which is that if I can’t explain it to my children I don’t want it on the air,” Gov. Bush said. “I think people need to be held to account to their own level of integrity that they aspire to. I have no regrets about the kind of campaign that I ran.”

Gov. Bush came to Texas A&M over the winter break to teach a 10-day course on the a governor’s role as a leader and how they impact the government as a whole. His own political journey started before he even ran for office as an adolescent.

“I was inspired by my dad,” Gov. Bush said. “I was involved as a teenager helping my dad in his early races. When he ran for president, I quit my job and worked full time, not because I was a political junkie but because I wanted to pay him back for being so blessed to be his son.”

When discussing his personal stake in civil service, Gov. Bush said it stemmed from a respect for his father and then a desire to serve his country.

“So at first it was just to show my love and respect for my dad,” Gov. Bush said. “I learned to speak in public settings so some of the trepidations of political life subsided. So I was active in politics in Miami then I became secretary of commerce under Bob Martinez and I saw first hand the power of the governor and the benefits of service there. So my interest has, almost exclusively, been being governor and I got to do it for eight years and now I get to teach a class about it.”

However, his work in the private sector leading up to his time in politics had a major impact on his views and policy in the political sphere, Gov. Bush said.

“What you bring to the job is your life experience as much as anything else,” Gov. Bush said. “Coming from a business background, I always had this attitude that there should be accountability we should measure, that we should have rewards for success, that we should not have tolerance for failure, all of those are common sense in the private sector. [In government] it’s a different leadership. You have to acquire new skills. I got to acquire that through trial and error.”

On his advice for those hoping to enter the political theater, Gov. Bush offered two insights for a successful career.

“If you’re going to run for office run against really bad candidates,” Gov. Bush said. “You have a better chance of winning. Secondly, listen to your mother. Which means be grounded, be who you are, be sincere, be genuine, and moms normally keep…you balanced. But I think there is ample opportunity to serve and the Bush School is one of the top schools of public service in the country and the caliber of the students is extraordinary.”

Gov. Bush gave his final note, ending on a, “Gig ‘Em.”

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