EXETER, New Hampshire—Jeb Bush continued his assault on Donald Trump during a rare weekend campaign swing, where he voiced confidence that voters will end Trump’s path to the White House as they make candidates “walk through the hot coals” ahead of the primary.
“The question is will New Hampshire want to support a guy who might tarnish this extraordinary reputation that you have,” Bush said of voting for Trump.
Saturday’s string of town hall events marked Bush’s first public campaign events in more than a week as the candidate has harshened his rhetoric toward the billionaire businessman.
“His whole organizing principle is that he’s winning,” Bush told voters Saturday. “Well what happens if he stops winning? There’s nothing there, there are no plans.”
The governor’s frustration with Trump has fumed from passing annoyance to focused attack even as Trump continues to surge in national polls while Bush languishes in single digits.
“I find it remarkable that we have candidates basically saying the end is near, that our country no longer is great: don’t worry I’ll fix it cause we’ll make America great again without any plans,” Bush said invoking Trump’s campaign slogan.
Looking ahead to the general election, Bush says frequently he will support the eventual Republican nominee, but insists that person will not be Trump. He laid out the choice starkly on Saturday, saying, “Beyond question, Trump loses to Hillary Clinton.”
Bush’s stump speech covers the same topics it did two weeks ago, but the governor seems to more freely invoke criticism of Trump, much in the same way he has done with President Obama and Hillary Clinton, continuing to question Trump’s seriousness as a candidate and even his intellectual curiosity.
However, Trump’s most successful attack on Bush – labeling him as “low-energy” – remains persistent on the campaign trail and in national perception.
“I bring it every day, this is who I am,” Bush told a voter asking about his energy. “There’s a mythology built up that somehow I don’t do this everyday.”
Bush will return to New Hampshire again in the days before the Christmas holiday as his campaign continues it’s intense focus on the state.
“We’re making really good progress because people get to see it, they don’t have to watch it on TV,” Bush said. “They get to interact, they get to joke with me, they get to be mad at me, they disagree with me from time to time.”