Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush says frontrunner Donald Trump didn’t come off as a strong leader on national security issues during Tuesday night’s debate.
Bush appeared via satellite link on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program on Wednesday morning. The candidates participated in the fifth GOP debate, hosted by CNN, in Las Vegas.
“We got to talk about substantive issues, about the future of our country and how we can keep our country safe and secure, and it was a commander-in-chief debate in many ways,” Bush said. “I don’t know if the front-running candidate fared that well in that kind of context.
“You need a leader that can listen to people and draw people together to be able to create a strategy to keep us safe,” he added. “And his policies, what he’s advocated, just won’t do it. And I was pleased to be able to point that out and we had some exchanges that I think I won.”
Host Joe Scarborough asked Bush where he thought he scored the most points.
“Well, the simple fact is he doesn’t have a plan; he’s not a serious candidate,” Bush said. “…His policies aren’t serious proposals, and he didn’t offer anything compelling in response to that. And I offered, as did other candidates, significant, detailed proposals to protect the homeland.”
But Bush still trails in fifth place in the polls with 5 percent, compared to Trump’s 38 percent, according to the latest Huffington Post survey average.
He noted that Iowa voters are “latched on to a particular candidate today but by February 1st when the caucuses start they could easily vote for somebody else.”
“Similarly, in New Hampshire, the exact same phenomenon takes place,” he said. “This is a wide open race … If you go campaign hard in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, you can move the needle and that’s exactly what I intend to do.
“I want to make the case that I am ready from day one to be President of the United States and that I will keep our country safe, and that I have the detailed policies to make sure that’s the case,” Bush said. “As people get a sense of my determination to do that, I think I’m going to move up in the polls.”
Trump, appearing last night on MSNBC’s Hardball, continued to rule out an independent run and said he would support the GOP nominee if he loses.
“I would do that, with enthusiasm,” Trump told host Chris Matthews. “I mean, I’ve gotten to know most of them pretty well. I like a lot of them. I can’t say I love everybody but I like a lot of them. And I respect quite a few of them.”