Jeb Bush has decided to suspend his campaign on February 20 after disappointing finishes in the first three primaries of the 2016 election cycle.
The son of George H. W. Bush and brother of George W. Bush entered the race to huge expectations in June, and quickly fueled them with fundraising. Working with a super PAC that has supported his candidacy, Jeb Bush and allies raised more than $150 million by the end of 2015 – far more than any of his GOP rivals.
Jeb Bush, 63, the former two-term governor of Florida, failed to inspire Republican primary voters whose mood and needs had changed dramatically since he left government in 2007. In what turned out to be the year of the unconventional outsider, Jeb Bush conducted his campaign as the conventional insider.
In an emotional speech in South Carolina after his third straight disappointing finish in the early voting states, Jeb Bush said: “I’m proud of the campaign that we’ve run to unify our country.
“The people of Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina have spoken, and I really respect their decision.”
Jeb Bush has blamed President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton for the current unrest in the Middle East and the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS).
In a 40-minute speech on August 11 at the Reagan Presidential Library in California, Jeb Bush outlined an argument made by many of the current Republican candidates.
By executing a “premature withdrawal” of all US forces in Iraq in 2011, the Republican hopeful said, the Obama administration and then-Secretary of State Clinton committed a “fatal error”, destabilizing the nation and setting the stage for the rise of ISIS militants.
“So eager to be the history-makers, they failed to be the peacemakers,” Jeb Bush said of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
“It was a case of blind haste to get out and to call the tragic consequences somebody else’s problem. Rushing away from danger can be every bit as unwise as rushing into danger, and the costs have been grievous.”
Rushing into a dangerous war is the critique often laid at the feet of Jeb Bush’s brother, President George W. Bush, the man who oversaw the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
However, Jeb Bush never mentioned his brother by name, although he made a few veiled references to his sibling’s often tumultuous foreign policy experience.
“No leader or policymaker involved will claim to have gotten everything right in the region, Iraq especially,” he said.
Jeb Bush went on to argue that the US military should become more involved in the Middle East – although the extent of such involvement was left unclear.
He called for a no-fly and “safe” zones over Syria, the removal of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, increasing support for Iraqi Kurds and greater co-ordination between US and Iraqi troops.
Earlier this week, Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton engaged in a round of accusations and counter attacks over education policy via Twitter.