Former Florida governor and 2016 presidential candidate Jeb Bush praised President Donald Trump’s foreign policy in comments made in New York City during the Iran Summit 2017. Asked by the moderator, NBC News’s Nicolle Wallace, to comment on Trump’s behavior toward North Korea and Iran, Bush said he believes Trump’s brash attitude has helped “set the table” in dealing with dangerous regimes.
“Once in a while, chaos, chaotic words, are helpful,” Bush said. “Regimes need to be called out. Trump is right.”
During a follow-up question at the summit – which consists of a series of panels by politicians and foreign-policy experts, and which was called to discuss the Iranian threat to the United States – Wallace pressed Bush on his uncharacteristic support for Trump, peppering him with questions about the president’s foreign policy. Bush responded by reiterating his earlier comments, praising Trump for overseeing a foreign policy that “is moving in a more traditional way.”
Bush continued by criticizing those who are “analyzing [Trump’s] Tweets and twitches” instead of “what [he’s] doing.” Wallace quieted the applause that this line generated by asking Bush about Trump’s flip-flop on NATO. Bush said that he supported Trump’s decision to remain in NATO, contending that it doesn’t matter that the president changed positions, because “he got [it] right the second time.”
Despite his general praise, Bush criticized the president’s lack of “consistent policy.” Moreover, he credited Trump’s team, not the president, with the move forward, specifically naming Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley as an example of someone “doing a good job.” He concluded his comments on Trump by saying the president must “go from ad hoc to something more clear” in his policy-making process.
Bush’s support for Trump’s foreign policy is an indicator that Trump has been moving toward a more traditional position. The frequent clashes between the two during the campaign helped Trump sell his promise that he would fight career politicians and Washington elites if elected. Now that Trump is in office, however, he’s finding it harder and harder to fulfill that vow.