Jeb Bush just concluded a conference call with donors, thanking them for support and loyalty while attributing his loss to "a year of disruption" embodied in Donald Trump.
"I just didn't get the breakthrough I needed in the early states," an apologetic Bush said.
"From the very beginning to the end, I really saw the path to win the nomination in a way that would allow the next president to be a conservative, a reform-minded conservative. But as is always the case in life, there's all sorts of different kinds of outcomes based on the realities, and in this case, the reality was you had a year of disruption, a year of outsiders making a compelling case to people who are deeply disaffected and angry."
Bush said he was back in Coral Gables, sleeping at home and visiting the gym. He said he would work to back a "conservative" but did not mention a candidate.
"I've learned a lot in this process and enjoyed the campaign," Bush said, noting he felt news coverage did not match what he saw and focused on insults.
"For me, it was an incredible joy and an incredible honor and privilege to be a candidate for president," he said.
--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times