Jeb Bush speaks in Washington. (Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush reportedly looks to his older brother, former President George W. Bush, for guidance on United States-Israel policy.
Sources told several media outlets that the younger Bush, a presumptive GOP presidential candidate, acknowledged his brother’s influence at an off-the-record gathering of financiers at the Metropolitan Club in New York City on Tuesday night.
“If you want to know who I listen to for advice, it’s him,” Bush said, according to the Washington Post.
The comment came as a surprise to many, because Bush has recently distanced himself from his brother’s controversial foreign policy record as president — insisting that he is his “own man.”
Bush’s Right to Rise PAC shared a statement from Tim Miller, a spokesman for the politician, with Yahoo News after being contacted for comment.
“Governor Bush deeply respects his brother’s service to this country and in response to a question about James Baker and Israel, he reiterated that he looks to his brother whose stalwart support for our ally is in line with his commitment to standing with Israel in the face of great threats to their security and our own,” it reads.
George W. Bush’s approval rating fluctuated greatly during his time in the White House. (Photo: Fox News)
There was some confusion over whether Jeb Bush was referring exclusively to Israel or to the Middle East in general in his remarks.
CNN cited four anonymous sources who said Bush was referring to the Middle East broadly — not just Israel.
In response, Bush’s staff put the news network in touch with two sources who said he clearly meant Israel.
“There were some eyebrows raised because people might not have realized it was in the context of Israel,” one source told CNN. “I knew it was in respect to Israel.”
Bush has acknowledged that his last name might be his biggest obstacle if he were to run for president. Because his brother and father have both occupied the Oval Office, the prospect of yet another Bush there is unsettling for many who dislike political dynasties.
The Democratic National Committee appears to have anticipated this familial fatigue, and in March it strung together a video of clips that show Bush agreeing with his older brother on several issues.