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Jeb Bush: I’d still support Trump over Clinton because ‘anybody is better than Hillary’

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Jeb Bush would support Donald Trump if the real-estate billionaire were to win the Republican presidential nomination, “because anybody is better than Hillary Clinton”.

Related: What will it take to stop Donald Trump?

The former Florida governor thinks that outcome unlikely, however, because the more voters hear of Trump, particularly on foreign policy, “the less likely he’s going to get the Republican nomination”.

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Bush, who trails Trump by some distance in polls regarding the sizeable Republican field, was speaking to CBS in an interview to be broadcast on Sunday morning, excerpts of which were published by Politico. Though Trump’s lead fell by 12 points in one recent poll , he has surfed a number of controversies over comments made on the campaign trail to maintain a healthy advantage.

Before his run-in with the New York Times this week, over his appearing to mimic a reporter’s disability during a campaign speech, Trump caused uproar when he appeared to agree with a suggestion that all Muslims in the US should be registered and mosques closed.

He has also repeatedly insisted that Muslims in New Jersey were seen to celebrate the 9/11 attacks – a claim refuted by Jersey residents , fact checkers, the New York Times reporter and police.

On Saturday, at a rally in Sarasota , Florida, he widened his approach to the subject, saying: “Worldwide, the Muslims were absolutely going wild.”

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“Look, I just think he’s uninformed,” Bush told CBS. “He knows what he’s saying. He’s smart. He’s playing you guys like a fiddle – the press – by saying outrageous things and garnering attention. That’s his strategy, is to dominate the news.”

The entire Republican field has grappled with the issue of security and the correct attitude to refugees from the Syrian civil war, particularly in the aftermath of the terror attacks in Paris this month that killed 130 and injured hundreds more and were claimed by Islamic State militants.

Their responses have prompted extensive criticism for alleged Islamophobia. This weekend Ben Carson, who compared Syrian refugees to “rabid dogs”, was in Jordan visiting a refugee camp. In a statement from his campaign, he said the US should not take in any of the people he met .

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Related: Ben Carson meets Syrian refugees in Jordan but says none should come to US

Bush, like Texas senator Ted Cruz and Florida senator Marco Rubio, has called for Christian refugees to be given priority concerning entry to the US, a position which President Obama called “shameful” .

“We do not have religious tests for our compassion,” the president said.

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Speaking to CBS, Bush said of Trump: “The simple fact is that he’s been wrong on Syria and on the refugees pretty consistently. And no one’s holding him to account.”

Asked if he would support Trump for the presidency if he won the primary contest which begins in Iowa on 1 February, Bush said: “Look, I’ve said … because anybody is better than Hillary Clinton. Let me just be clear about that.

“But I have great doubts about Donald Trump’s ability to be commander-in-chief … I’ll let the voters decide about Donald Trump. I’m pretty confident that the more they hear of him, the less likely he’s going to get the Republican nomination.”

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guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2015


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Elections 2016

Betsy DeVos, Ben Carson send anti-trans signals to Trump’s evangelical base

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While Trump grabs headlines, his Cabinet members quietly use transphobia to shore up white evangelical support

The white evangelical vote is almost certainly a lock for Donald Trump in 2020, but it appears the president is taking no chances of losing this critical voting block. One major part of that strategy appears to be quietly deploying his Cabinet members, especially those associated with the Christian right, to generate stories highlighting the Trump administration's overt bigotry toward trans people, and its eagerness to deprive trans Americans of basic rights.

Just this week, both Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson snagged coverage by making community visits that were ostensibly for noble purposes, but were clearly meant to signal to Christian right voters their hostility to trans rights.

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Elections 2016

Intelligence official directly contradicts Trump administration’s excuses for suppressing whistleblower

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A top official in the intelligence community has disputed the factual basis for the Trump administration’s suppression of a whistleblower complaint believed to regard the potential misconduct of the president himself, a new letter released Thursday revealed.

The letter was made public by House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA). He is locked into a fierce and potentially explosive dispute with an array of forces within the administration to obtain the complaint, which was made through proper channels by an intelligence official last month to the community’s inspector general. Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson determined that the complaint was “credible” and “urgent,” and subsequent reporting from the Washington Post found that it concerns a “promise” made by Trump in communication with a foreign leader.

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Longtime GOP strategist explains why his party is getting crushed in the war of ideas

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Republican strategist Stuart Stevens on Wednesday warned the GOP that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) might not be a pushover candidate against President Donald Trump in 2020.

Writing on Twitter, Stevens admitted that he had "no idea" if Warren would beat Trump next year, but he did say that "Trump and supporters are destroying [the] credibility of any center-right argument" thanks to Trump's "corrupt and unstable" governance.

When one of Stevens' followers said that Warren would not be able to fulfill her promises just by taxing the wealthy, he countered that this idea is still more popular than anything Republicans are championing.

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