February 28, 2017

Jeb Bush ally among Trump's guests for speech to Congress


via @learyreports

A Florida woman who became an ally of Jeb Bush on school reform will be a guest of President Donald Trump's for the Tuesday night address to a joint session of Congress.

Denisha Merriweather of Jacksonville was named in a White House news release. "After struggling with coursework as a child and switching schools often, Denisha moved in with her godmother and enrolled in the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program," the description reads. "She began going to a private school, Esprit de Corps Center for Learning, and would go on to be the first member of her family to graduate from high school and college."

Merriweather's success was championed by Bush, and he frequently invoked her on the campaign trail.

Keep reading here for the rest of Trump's guests.

February 07, 2017

Bush congratulates DeVos on confirmation

via @learyreports

WASHINGTON -- Jeb Bush celebrated the confirmation today of Betsy DeVos as education secretary.

“I congratulate Betsy DeVos on her confirmation as our nation’s next Secretary of Education. The president made an excellent choice to lead the Department of Education," Bush wrote in a statement from his education foundation, whose board DeVos sat on.

DeVos, who struggled through her confirmation hearing, barely made it through the Senate, with Vice President Mike Pence having to cast a tie breaker. Florida Sen. Bill Nelson voted against her and Sen. Marco Rubio voted in favor.

But for Bush and other education advocates, it is a win nonetheless. Bush wrote several letters and op/eds on DeVos' behalf.

"Millions of families share Secretary DeVos’s vision for disrupting a failed status quo that has denied too many children access to a quality education," Bush said today. "It’s time to upend the entrenched special interests that put adults above genuine reforms that will raise student achievement. I hope the senators who opposed Secretary DeVos’s nomination will now put aside the tired arguments of the unions and come together to prioritize the needs of students. Under Secretary DeVos’s leadership, I am confident the federal government will loosen its grip on our education system and return power to the states and parents where it rightfully belongs.” 

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

January 13, 2017

Bush: I probably won't ever run for office again

From the Associated Press:

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose bid for the presidency was derailed by businessman and eventual winner Donald Trump, says it's unlikely he'll run for office again.

Bush said Thursday that "life goes on" and that he's focused on building up his business again and working with the foundation he created to push for changes in education policy. He's also ruling out running again for governor in his home state.

Bush was Florida's governor from 1999 to 2007. When he jumped into the race for the GOP presidential nomination, he was initially viewed as the front runner.

But he ended his bid for the White House after he lost the South Carolina primary.

Bush is spending time this month teaching a class on the role of governors at Texas A&M University.

January 12, 2017

Bush camp says it had nothing to do with Russian dirt on Trump

via @learyreports

A BBC report this week asserted that the super PAC supporting Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign had paid for salacious opposition research on Donald Trump that the president-elect vigorously dismissed yesterday as “FAKE NEWS.”

But Bush’s camp says that nonsense and has gotten the BBC to correct its story. The dossier had circulated among news organizations for months but none ran with it because the claims could not be verified.

BuzzFeed this week published the document, drawing Trump’s wrath.

“To be clear, Right to Rise USA had nothing to do with the research or dossier and has sent a cease & desist letter to the BBC demanding a correction,” Charlie Spies, a lawyer for Right to Rise USA, said in an email to the Tampa Bay Times.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

January 11, 2017

Fraud case that dogged Bush for 18 years comes to an end

via @adamsmithtimes

A long-running federal fraud case involving Jeb Bush, a Nigerian billionaire, a South Florida pump company and allegations of fraud, bribery and suitcases full of cash has finally run its course, with the company accused of ripping off the government cleared of any liability.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up the case Monday, effectively ending the epic whistleblower saga in which the government had accused politically-connected Deerfield Beach-based Moving Water Industries of fraudulently obtaining more than $74 million in federal Export-Import Banks loans for Nigeria to buy MWI water pumps in 1992.

"MWI is a small family-owned business located in Deerfield Beach since 1926 and this case has been extremely costly in terms of legal fees incurred and lost business since 1998," said MWI vice president and general counsel William Bucknam. "We are looking forward to resuming our previous international business activities providing pumps to grow food, mitigate flood waters and provide a source of safe drinking water in remote villages without electricity."

Continue reading "Fraud case that dogged Bush for 18 years comes to an end" »

January 10, 2017

Bush writes Senate on behalf of Trump education pick DeVos

via @learyreports

WASHINGTON -- Jeb Bush is making a push for Donald Trump’s choice to run the Department of Education, arguing Betsy DeVos will be an advocate for school choice.

“Betsy is a champion of families, not institutions,” Bush writes in a letter to leaders of the Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “For her, local control of education decisions means local control. She trusts parents to choose what is in their unique child's best interests, and she believes in providing every parent with the resources to pursue those decisions.

“I’m confident that, as Secretary, Betsy will pursue every opportunity to improve all of our nation's schools and empower states, districts and parents to maximize the number of high-quality learning opportunities available to our kids.”

DeVos’ policy positions have sparked fierce opposition from Democrats and Sen. Patty Murray, the lead Democrat on the committee, said the nomination should be postponed until DeVos’ ethics review is complete. On Monday night it was announced the hearing, scheduled for Wednesday, will push to next week.

Bush writes that he has known DeVos for more than 20 years — in recent years she has served on the board of Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education — and that DeVos “has become the voice of mothers and fathers who for too long have lacked one in America's education system.”

He goes on to explain “two false narratives about the parental choice movement are pertinent to this nomination and to the future of our education system.”

Read his full letter below.

Continue reading "Bush writes Senate on behalf of Trump education pick DeVos" »

January 04, 2017

Jeb Bush to give speech in Texas same night as Obama's farewell address

GOP 2016 Bush


Former Gov. Jeb Bush will give a speech at Texas A&M University on Jan. 10th -- the same night that President Barack Obama gives his farewell address.

The George Bush Presidential Library Foundation at the university will host the 6 p.m. event.

Bush will also teach a 10-day course on gubernatorial leadership at the university starting Jan. 6th.

(Associated Press phot of Bush taking questions from reporters following a town hall-style meeting at La Progresiva Presbyterian School in Little Havana in 2015.)

December 21, 2016

Jeb Bush: 'Far left' has tried to tarnish Trump's EPA pick Pruitt

via @learyreports

More signs that Jeb Bush is digging Donald Trump’s administration …

In a piece for CNN.com, Bush writes: “I cannot think of a person more suited to lead the Environmental Protection Agency than Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, someone who understands how to rein in an out-of-control bureaucracy and ensure that Washington focuses solely on its core functions.”

“The far left has tried to distort Pruitt's views in a lame attempt to make him into an anti-science boogeyman. The Scott Pruitt I know is far from it. Unlike liberals who want to shut down any rational debate about climate change, Pruitt has acknowledged human impact on the climate and supports a robust discussion about its effects and what the government should and shouldn't do to address it." ...

“I know Pruitt will be successful because I went through this process firsthand running for governor in Florida. Many Democrats claimed that my views were extreme and that I would ruin our beautiful and unique habitat. What they found was exactly the opposite. Applying conservative principles, we streamlined the bureaucracy, saved the state money and invested in Florida's environment, including setting out on a historic effort to restore America's Everglades -- something the federal government had failed to do."

Bush has made favorable comments about Trump's picks.

December 13, 2016

Jeb Bush scoffs at idea that Russians influenced election

via @learyreports

Jeb Bush laughed at the suggestion the Russians influenced the election. "The Ruskies are out there, what, sticking something in people’s brains?’ I mean, come on," he said Monday in an interview with a TV station in Tennessee.

The Russians, Bush said, “had a candidate that they thought would be better than Hillary Clinton, for sure, but they didn’t influence the election. The American people made up their minds on this."

Bush was in Kingsport, Tenn., giving a (paid?) speech before a group on healthcare.

In the interview with WJHL, Bush also praised Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump's nominee for secretary of state, saying the Exxon Mobile CEO has "vast experience."

He called Tillerson a "patriot" who will "represent the interests of United States really, really well. But (the Senate) will have the chance to discuss all these things in an opening hearing. That’s how the process works.”

Tillerson initially supported Bush's run for president and contributed to his campaign.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

December 01, 2016

Jeb Bush returns to Trump's Washington

via @learyreports

WASHINGTON -- The last time Jeb Bush held an education summit in Washington, as he does today, scores of reporters and a big crowd showed up. The headline: Bush seeks balance on Common Core under 2016 glare.

Two years ago, speculation raged over whether Bush would run for president. Finally, in June 2015, he jumped in with a big splash of money. The rest is well-known.

Today, Bush continued his re-emergence in a space he feels most comfortable in: policy wonk. He kicked off his Foundation For Excellence in Education summit with an 8:45 a.m. speech.

"This is a time for big thinking and courageous leadership, to encourage each other to move the needle so that more and more children gain the power or knowledge in this turbulent world, this exciting world that we’re living in," Bush said.

National political reporters, who used to show up en masse to hear the presumed presidential front-runner, blew off the speech.

Bush began with a nod to the election. "I actually planned not to be here this year," Bush said to laughter. "I hoped to be pursuing a different type of public service."

Turning more introspective he said, "It's always a good learning experience to get beat bad ... It is humbling and that's not bad." 

The 2016 election wasn’t all bad for Bush. President-elect Donald Trump picked Betsy DeVos, an ExcelinEd board member, for his education chief.

Continue reading "Jeb Bush returns to Trump's Washington" »