During the Republican primary in South Carolina, candidate Donald Trump attacked candidate Jeb Bush by referring to his brother, former President George W. Bush.
When you get challenged by referring to someone close to you, don’t rattle on. Cut the debate on that topic and get back to the subject at hand – leading America as president.
The worst part was that Trump was not accurate on many of the accusations about the 43rd president. If that wasn’t enough, Jeb asked for more by including his mother and father in the argument. Trump ate it up.
It was truly sad to see former First Lady Barbara Bush, a 90-year-old great-grandmother, slowly moving with the help of a walker in freezing New Hampshire weather showing support for her son.
I shook my head looking at this and said to myself, “You are going too far, Jeb. People are going to wonder about your strength – bringing in your aging mother to fight your battles.” Trump wisely avoided any bad words to or about her. It is the visual that said it all.
However, Trump saw an opening by Jeb bringing in his brother to South Carolina. He wrongly referred to George W. Bush as a “liar who wrongly led us into the Iraq War. He claimed there were weapons of mass destruction and there weren’t. Thousands of our soldiers died because of that.”
Jeb had no comeback. He could have.
Iraq had plenty of weapons of mass destruction – mainly chemical weapons which it would use from time to time against rebelling Kurds and Shiites. All Jeb was apparently thinking was the subject of nuclear weapons. He should have concentrated on chemical weapons and SCUD missiles that could reach our ships and Israel.
Didn’t tell his story
He should have turned this around by eloquently explaining the Bush name.
His grandfather, Prescott Bush, was a New Hampshire senator and a strong civil rights advocate who played a valuable role in the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1957. He valiantly fought the Democratic senators who opposed it and he convinced President Eisenhower to support it. This encouraged Eisenhower to begin integrating Southern schools – an event he failed to do for our troops while managing World War II.
Jeb could have mentioned his father, President George H.W. Bush, who furthered the implementation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Most of the minority business programs that we have today where implemented during his vice presidential and presidential terms. More Black millionaires evolved under government procurement programs during those three terms.
Then he could have spoken of the great things his brother accomplished. During the 43rd president’s term, Black business turned around.
Decreased under Clinton
Bush’s predecessor, William J. Clinton, had a less-than-glamorous period for Black-owned firms.
The 8(a) program started reversing as the Department of Defense started directing their 8(a) contracts to Alaskan Native corporations – a total sham. White firms could claim some type of relationship with one of the Alaskan tribes, and then get no-bid, billion-dollar contracts for years.
We started noticing a drop of a billion dollars per year for Black 8(a) firms beginning in the mid-1990s.
Jeb could have stated that during the Hurricane Katrina rebuilding, George W. Bush opened the doors for Black contractors. Within three years, more than $3 billion were earned by Black participating companies. I got weekly reports from FEMA stating the dollar amount, name of contractors and contact info to verify that contractor. By contrast, when Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey, the current administration claimed they didn’t keep such numbers – a TOTAL LIE.
Regarding capital access, under George W. Bush, Small Business Administration loans grew from 4 percent to 8 percent. Since then, the current administration has decreased that amount to 2 percent.
Bad for Blacks
President George W. Bush proclaimed all government contractual projects to be “Right to Work.”
President Obama’s first executive order was to reverse that order and make all projects over $1 million to be union-only, which drastically reduced contracts and hiring of Blacks.
Jeb, all you had to do was stand tall and eloquently describe the brilliant legacy of your family. But you didn’t do this and got hustled. Your run for president is now suspended.
Harry C. Alford is the co-founder and president/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Contact him via www.nationalbcc.org.