Jeb Bush

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Jeb Bush served as the Governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007, when he term-limited out of office. A career Florida public servant, Bush had previously served as the Florida State Secretary of Commerce from 1987-1988. He is the son of former President George H. W. Bush and the younger brother of former President George W. Bush. He announced his campaign at the Kendall Campus of Miami-Dade College in June 2015.


On the Issues

AAI tracks statements, non-statements, and the track records of each presidential candidate on the issues we care about most. Click on an issue to read what Jeb Bush has said on the campaign trail.


Foreign Policy     

Domestic Policy


U.S. Role in the Middle East 

Voting Rights 


U.S. Response to ISIL

Civil Rights + Civil Liberties








Community Policing




Bigoted Speech


Iran Negotiations 

Immigration Reform

Key Advisors

  • Sally Bradshaw: Campaign Advisor. Bradshaw is one of Jeb Bush’s closest advisors and a veteran campaign staffer. She served President George H. W. Bush, as the Southern liaison in the White House Political Affairs Office.
  • George W. Bush: The former President of the U.S. was named by Jeb Bush as his most influential councilor on U.S.-Israel policy and the Middle East.
  • Danny Diaz: Campaign Manager. Diaz has worked for the past three GOP presidential nominees, notably as a Senior Advisor to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential run.
  • Dave Kochel: Early States Manager. Kochel was called “one of the best political operatives in America” by a former top advisor to Mitt Romney.
  • George P. Shultz: The former Secretary of State under President Reagan  and one of the few foreign policy advisors on Jeb Bush’s team that did not advise either President George W. Bush or President George H.W. Bush, Sr. He currently serves on the Washington Institute for Near East Policy's Board of Advisors, the North American Forum, the Hoover Institution, and as the chairman of JPMorgan Chase's International Advisory Council.
  • Paul Wolfowitz: The former Deputy Secretary of Defense under President George W. Bush and famously led the push for the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. He has also worked as the State Department Director of Policy Planning from 1980-1982, as the Ambassador to the Republic of Indonesia from 1986-1989, and as the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy from 1989-1993. He is one of the most experienced foreign policy advisors on Jeb Bush’s team.


The U.S. Role in the Middle East

“With grandiose language, the president talks about red lines and nothing to follow it up; talks about ISIS being the JV team, they form a caliphate the size of Indiana with 35 (thousand) to 40,000 battle-tested terrorists. He’s missing the whole point, that American’s leadership in the world is required for peace and stability.” (New York Times, 1/15/16)

“The other Arab countries have a role to play in this. We cannot be the world’s policeman. We can’t do this unilaterally. We have to do this in unison with the Arab world. And sending that signal makes it impossible for us to be serious about taking out ISIS and restoring democracy in Syria.” (New York Times, 1/15/16)

"Under Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama, we have seen a weakness that now creates huge problems for the next president of the United States. So I'll have a team that will be following the doctrine I set up, and it will be peace through strength." (September 2015, 2nd Republican Debate)

"So why was the success of the surge followed by a withdrawal from Iraq, leaving not even the residual force that commanders and the joint chiefs knew was necessary?  That premature withdrawal was the fatal error, creating the void that ISIS moved in to fill – and that Iran has exploited to the full as well.  ISIS grew while the United States disengaged from the Middle East and ignored the threat." (August 2015, California speech)

Regarding his support for the Iraq War: “Here’s the lesson that we should take from this, which relates to this whole subject, Barack Obama became president, and he abandoned Iraq. He left, and when he left Al Qaida was done for. ISIS was created because of the void that we left, and that void now exists as a caliphate the size of Indiana. To honor the people that died, we need to — we need to — stop the — Iran agreement, for sure, because the Iranian mullahs have their blood on their hands, and we need to take out ISIS with every tool at our disposal.” (August 2015, Fox GOP Debate)

"Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the most populous Arab country and the wealthiest, are important partners of the United States.  Those relationships have been badly mishandled by this administration.  Both countries are key to a better-coordinated regional effort against terrorism.  We need to restore trust, and work more closely with them against common threats. We have very capable partners, likewise, in the United Arab Emirates, who are willing and able to take the fight to the extremists.  We have a moderate and quite formidable leader in King Abdullah of Jordan. We have an ally in the new democratic government in Tunisia, and a fragile democracy in Lebanon – nations that are both under assault by radicals and terrorists.  Across the region, responsible governments need no persuading of what the moment requires. " (August 2015, California speech)

In speaking about George W. Bush's decision to invade Iraq in 2003, Jeb Bush stated,"If we're going to get into hypotheticals I think it does a disservice for a lot of people that sacrificed a lot. Going back in time and talking about hypotheticals — what would have happened, what could have happened — I think, does a disservice for them. What we ought to be focusing on is what are the lessons learned."(May 2015, campaign stop)

"We need to embed American troops, as we've done successfully in the past, to help train them [Iraqis], to identify targets, to do what we do really well… We don't have a strategy right now… We have a series of tactics, reacting to whatever's going on on the ground. That doesn't mean we have to have combat troops in harm's way. But I think ... in concert with other countries, and certainly in an effort to try to restrict Iranian influence in Iraq, that we can play a constructive role." (May 2015, Face the Nation

“So here's the deal: If we're all supposed to answer hypothetical questions, knowing what we know now, what would you have done? I would have not engaged — I would not have gone into Iraq,"(May 2015, Business Insider)

“The future success of American foreign policy in the Middle East — and the world — will require a fresh approach. One that takes to heart the realities of the region. One that rebuilds the friendships we once enjoyed. One that reminds our enemies of our determination. And one that fundamentally believes that when America leads, the world is more stable and America’s security is more certain.”(March 2015, National Review)

U.S. Response to ISIL

“We need to create a coalition, Sunni led coalition on the ground with our special operators to destroy ISIS, and bring about stability. And, you can’t do that with Assad in power.”(Debate Transcript, 2/13/16)

"They are reverent if we want to destroy ISIS. If we want to destroy radical Islamic terrors, we can’t disassociate ourselves from peace loving Muslims. If we expect to do this on our own, we will fail but if we do it in unison with people who are also are at risk and threatened by Islamic Radical terrorism, we’ll be far more successful." (December 2015, CNN GOP Debate)

On Trump’s proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the country, “Look, this is not a serious proposal. In fact, it will push the Muslim world, the Arab world away from us at a time when we need to reengage with them to be able to create a strategy to destroy ISIS." (December 2015, CNN GOP Debate)

"Well, first of all, we need to destroy ISIS in the caliphate. That’s — that should be our objective. The refugee issue will be solved if we destroy ISIS there, which means we need to have a no-fly zone, safe zones there for refugees and to build a military force. We need to embed our forces — our troops inside the Iraqi military. We need to arm directly the Kurds. And all of that has to be done in concert with the Arab nations. And if we’re going to ban all Muslims, how are we going to get them to be part of a coalition to destroy ISIS? The Kurds are the greatest fighting force and our strongest allies. They’re Muslim." (December 2015, CNN GOP Debate)

“The United States should not delay in leading a global coalition to take out ISIS with overwhelming force.” (November 2015, Miami Herald)

"The Islamic State and its followers are an asymmetric threat –needing just one big strike to inflict devastation. What we are facing in ISIS and its ideology is, to borrow a phrase, the focus of evil in the modern world.  And civilized nations everywhere, especially those with power, have a duty to oppose and defeat this enemy." (August 2015, California speech)

"My strategy meets the unique circumstances in each of the two countries, Iraq and Syria, in which ISIS now has territory.  And let’s start with Iraq, and the five broad actions I would take as president to help remove the threat from that country. First, we must support the Iraqi forces, which right now have the will to win, but not the means....Second, we must give these forces the consistent advantage of American air power, to cover their operations and to strike with fierce precision....Third, we must make better use of the limited forces we have by giving them a greater range of action...Fourth, we should provide more support to the Kurds, giving them decisive military power against ISIS...And finally, our strategy in Iraq has to restart the serious diplomatic efforts that can help that country move in the right direction." (August 2015, California speech)  

“If this is a serious effort than we need to treat it seriously. So we need to be engaging in the world, creating alliances with our traditional Arab nations that see this threat directly, supporting it with Air Power and military power, and creating a strategy and sticking with it. I think there’s a political element to this as well. If the United States isn’t trusted because no one has the sense that we’re going to be around, then it’s really hard to engage with the Turks, Saudis, etc.” (August 2015, Voters First Forum)

“We need to embed American troops, as we've done successfully in the past, to help train [the Iraqi Military], to identify targets, to do what we do really well. We need to encourage the Iraqi government to provide support to the, to the Sunni tribes, as we did during the surge. I think we need to arm the Kurds as well, in coordination with the Iraqi government."(May 2015, The Hill)

“We have to develop a strategy that’s global that takes them out. The strategy needs to be restrain them, tighten the noose and taking them [ISIL] out.” (February 2015, Chicago Council on Global Affairs)


“to allow Russia now to have influence in Syria makes it harder, but we need to destroy ISIS and dispose of Assad to create a stable Syria so that the four million refugees aren’t a breeding ground for Islamic jihadists.” (Debate Transcript, 2/13/16)

“If we’ve screened refugees, if you’re a Christian Syrian who but for the good fortune of escaping and crossing through ISIS territory, and crossing the Turkish border, stuck in a refugee camp, and go through the process to prove you’re not an Islamic terrorist, you come to the United States, this noble country, to send them back to their slaughter? I find it appalling.” (November 2015, Michael Medved Show)

“My heart goes out to refugees and I do think we have a noble tradition of supporting refugees. But the screening process needs to be difficult and we err on the side of caution because unlike other refugee waves that we’ve seen in our country's history, people weren't embedded terrorist that want to destroy Western civilization, weren't embedded amongst the beleaguered refugees. And now they are and we have to be extraordinarily cautious.” (November 2015, Presidential TeleForum)

"The great majority of refugees need to be safely kept in Syria... I do think we have a responsibility to help with refugees after proper screening. And I think our focus ought to be on the Christians who have no place in Syria anymore." (November 2015, Meet the Press)

"I think we need to do thorough screening and take in a limited number. There are a lot of Christians in Syria that have no place now. They'll be either executed or imprisoned, either by Assad or by ISIS. We should focus our efforts as it relates to the refugees for the Christians that are being slaughtered." (November 2015, CNN)

“[we should not] send them [Syrian refugees] all back to a hell hole…We have a global tradition of taking care of refugees...we've done it since the beginning of time.” (October 2015, New Hampshire town hall)

"Assad is a brutal dictator. He barrel bombs his innocents — he kills them. He's destroying communities. Two hundred thousand-plus people have died. And people are leaving, not because they're immigrants looking for a better life. They're leaving because they'll die. It's that simple. And we have to play a role in providing support. We're duty-bound to provide support.” (October 2015, New Hampshire town hall)

"Of 23 million Syrians, about 11 million have been displaced or fled the country altogether.  More than two hundred thousand people have so far been killed in the mayhem.  The regime of Bashar al-Assad is deploying every ruthless means to stay in power.  Long brutalized by that regime, now under assault from ISIS, Syrian moderates want to fight against both enemies, and they view the regime as the greater evil.  It’s a sorrowful picture when you think back on how it could have been avoided." (August 2015, California speech)

On taking in Syrian refugees, Bush said, “It’s a bad idea if there’s no screening and I for one think we should take in every Christian Iraqi and every Christian Syrian who are in a situation right now where if they stay where they are they’ll be killed… That’s the world a Christian lives in the Middle East with Islamic terrorism.” (September 2015, Fox News)

"Defeating ISIS requires defeating Assad, but we have to make sure that his regime is not replaced by something as bad or worse. The last thing we need in Syria is a repeat of Libya, with its plan-less aftermath, where the end of a dictatorship was only the beginning of more terrorist violence, including the death of 4 Americans in Benghazi.  Syria will need a stable government, and a transition free of more sectarian blood-letting will depend on the credible moderate forces we help unite and build up today.  To that end, my strategy would bring American influence to bear in four all-important areas of action. First, a coordinated, international effort is essential to give Syria’s moderate forces the upper hand....Second, we have to expand and vastly improve the recruitment and training of Syrian forces fighting ISIS...Third, we must over time establish multiple safe zones in Syria...Fourth, we and our partners should declare a no-fly zone in Syria, and then work to expand that zone to prevent more crimes by the regime." (August 2015, California speech)


“Thirdly, we need to move our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to send a serious signal that we’re back in the game with Israel.” (New York Times, 1/15/16)

“I will rebuild our vital friendships...that starts by standing with the brave, democratic State of Israel.” (June 2015, Campaign announcement speech)

When asked who his most influential counselor is on U.S.-Israel policy, Bush said, “If you want to know who I listen to for advice, it’s him [George W. Bush].” (May 2015, Speaking to GOP donors)

"With Israel, those interests lie in a firm alliance. Israel and America must work together to build a more prosperous and hopeful future for the region. A state for the Palestinian people, side by side with Israel, will be possible only if the Palestinian people are represented by leaders committed to delivering on the promises made at the negotiating table."(March 2015, National Review)


We have a moderate and quite formidable leader in King Abdullah of Jordan. We have an ally in the new democratic government in Tunisia, and a fragile democracy in Lebanon – nations that are both under assault by radicals and terrorists." (August 2015, California speech

Iran Nuclear Deal 

“I would immediately create a policy of containment as it relates to Iran’s ambitions, and to make it make clear that we are not going to allow for Iran to do what it’s doing, which is to move towards a nuclear weapon.” (Debate Transcript, 2/13/16)

"As it relates to Iran, it's not a strategy to tear up an agreement. A strategy would be how do we confront Iran? And, the first thing that we need to do is to establish our commitment to Israel which has been altered by this administration. And, make sure that they have the most sophisticated weapons to send a signal to Iran that we have Israel's back." (September 2015, 2nd Republican Debate)

"If the Congress does not reject this deal, then the damage must be undone by the next president – and it will be my intention to begin that process immediately. Knowing what has gone wrong, however, is not the same as knowing how to set it right." (August 2015, California speech)

“One thing I won't do is just say as a candidate: 'I'm just going to tear up the agreement on the first day.' That sounds great, but maybe you ought to check in with your allies first. Maybe you ought to appoint a secretary of state, maybe a secretary of defense. You might want to have your team in place before you take an act like that.” (July 2015, CNN)

“The administration believes Iran will become a responsible partner for peace once it signs up to a deal that largely leaves in place its nuclear infrastructure. In a region that is in a near-constant state of conflict — with Iran as a primary instigator — this approach is foolish.”(March 2015, National Review)

“This [deal] isn’t diplomacy – it is appeasement” (July 2015, The Guardian)

Voting Rights

In his opposition to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, bush said, "There's been dramatic improvement in access to voting. I mean exponentially better improvement. And I don't think there's a role for the federal government to play in most places, there could be some, but in most places where they did have a constructive role in the '60s. So I don't support reauthorizing it as is." (October 2015, Des Moines Register)

“States should be allowed to protect the integrity of the franchise with voter identification laws, which are supported by a large majority of Americans, including Hispanics. So long as states make it simple for citizens to obtain such forms of identification, they should have the latitude to require such identification for voting or to secure welfare benefits.”(March 2013, Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution)

Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

"My point is the no-fly list is not a concise list of people under investigation or that may be for a short period of time. But if you, if you narrow that down from that list to people that are, that are being investigated in an active way, yes, that would be appropriate." (December 2015, Fox News)

"I was opposed to the decision, but we -- you can't just say, 'Well, they -- gays can't get married now.' But this woman (Kim Davis), there should be some accommodation for her conscience." (September 2015, 2nd Republican Debate)

“We live in a democracy, and regardless of our disagreements, we have to respect the rule of law. I hope that we can show respect for the good people on all sides of the gay and lesbian marriage issue -- including couples making lifetime commitments to each other who are seeking greater legal protections and those of us who believe marriage is a sacrament and want to safeguard religious liberty.” (January 2015, The Miami Herald)


“We need to make sure that we keep the country safe. This is the first priority. The cybersecurity challenges that we face, this administration failed us completely, completely. Not just the hacking of OPM, but that is – that is just shameful. 23 million files in the hands of the Chinese? So it’s not just the government – the private sector companies, it’s also our own government that needs to raise the level of our game.” (New York Times, 1/15/16)

"Look, the FBI has the tools necessary un-American activities in our country. It goes on, we shouldn’t even be talking about it, to be honest with you out in the public. Of course they have those capabilities and we should make sure that we give the FBI, the NSA, our intelligence communities, all the resources they need to keep us safe." (December 2015, CNN GOP Debate)

“I think we need to restore the metadata program. Which was part of the Patriot Act, and it expires in the next few months. I think that was a useful tool to keep us safe.” (November 2015, MSNBC)

“I think we’ve let our guard down a little bit…over time now concerns about civil liberties and other things have come into the forefront, and I think we need to re-invigorate [surveillance programs]. Senator Graham is right. This is a war against western civilization. These are barbarians.” (August 2015, Voters First Forum)

“There’s a place to find common ground between personal civil liberties and NSA doing its job,” Bush said. “I think the balance has actually gone the wrong way.” (August 2015, Truth in Media)

“There's no evidence, not a shred of evidence, that the metadata program has violated anybody's civil liberties. The first duty of our national government is to protect the homeland. And this has been an effective tool, along with many others, and the Patriot Act ought to be reauthorized, as is.”(May 2015, The Hill)

"I would say the best part of the Obama administration would be his continuance of the protections of the homeland using, you know, the big metadata programs, the NSA being enhanced. Even though he never defends it, even though he never openly admits it, there has been a continuation of a very important service, which is the first obligation I think of our national government is to keep us safe."(April 2015, CNN)

 Community Policing

"I don't think [police violence] is a systemic problem. Poverty and generational poverty, which is really one of the great challenges of our time, is a problem. And the welfare state, liberal-progressive approach to this has failed.”(May 2015, Fox News)

Bigoted Speech: Instances of Condemnation and/or Use

*The Arab American Institute is leading a campaign to hold public officials accountable for their bigoted rhetoric this election cycle. Join us by signing our Pledge to Combat Bigotry, and use #NoBigotry on social media to hold candidates accountable and thank candidates who stand against it.*

On President Obama's roundtable discussion and speech at an mosque in Baltimore, MD. "I don't think it's divisive to go speak in a mosque. I'm surprised it took his eighth year to do it....I don't criticize the President to go to a mosque and to assure people they shouldn't be discriminated against. I think that is more than appropriate as the leader of our country." (February 4, 2016, New Hampshire campaign event)

“Mr. Trump believed that in reaction to people’s fears that we should ban all Muslims. Well, that creates an environment that’s toxic in our own country. Nobela is a rising entrepreneur. She wants to pursue the American dream. She’s an American citizen. She should not feel uncomfortable about her citizenship. She’s not the threat. The threat is Islamic terrorism.” (New York Times, 1/28/16)

Speaking against Trump: “I hope you reconsider this, because this policy a policy that makes it impossible to build the coalition necessary to take out ISIS. The Kurds are our strongest allies. They’re Muslim. You’re not going to even allow them to come to our country?” (New York Times, 1/15/16)

Asked how he would identify Christian Syrian families for their relocation to the U.S., Bush said, “You’re a Christian – I mean, you can prove you’re a Christian. You can’t prove it, then, you know, you err on the side of caution.” (November 2015, Campaign event in South Carolina)

"Trumps demeaning remarks are small and inappropriate for anyone, much less a presidential candidate. Carly & country deserve better. Enough" (September 2015, @JebBush)

Responding to a question about how the Republican Party could win the votes of African Americans, Bush said that "[o]ur message is one of hope and aspiration. It isn't one of division and get in line and we'll take care of you with free stuff." (September 2015, South Carolina town hall)

"What I was talking about was the specific case of fraud being committed where there's organized efforts and, frankly, it's more related to Asian people coming into our country, having children in that organized efforts taking advantage of a noble concept which is birthright citizenship." (August 2015, MaCallen, TX press gaggle)

In understanding Black Lives Matter, Bush said, “I know that in the political context it’s a slogan, I guess.” (July 2015, New Hampshire town hall)

“[Islam] has been hijacked by people who have an ideology that wants to destroy western civilization, and they’re barbarians. And so that part, which is the part that we need to confront head-on, is clearly not a religion of peace.”(April 2015, The Guardian)

Immigration Reform

“You can – you can deal with the threat of terror and also recognize that this country should be aspirational across the board.” (New York Times, 1/28/16)

"Yes, we do need more fencing and we do need to use technology, and we do need more border control. And we need to have better cooperation by the way with local law enforcement. There are 800,000 cops on the beat, they ought to be trained to be the eyes and ears for law enforcement for the threat against terror as well as for immigration." (December 2015, CNN GOP Debate)

“Here’s what I believe. I believe we need immigration reform. I’ve been clear about this. I believe that DREAM Act kids should have a path to citizenship. I’ll continue to be consistently for it irrespective of what the political ramifications of that are....“That is the dignified American way, the practical way of solving the problem of 12 million immigrants. If we did that, we could turn immigration into what it’s always been: a sustained economic driver for our country.” (September 2015, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Congress speech)

"Look this is a constitutionally protected right, I don't support revoking it" (August 2015, NBC News)

“I believe that the great majority of people coming here illegally have no other option. They want to provide for their family. But we need to control our border. It's not -- it's our responsibility to pick and choose who comes in. So I -- I've written a book about this and yet this week, I did come up with a comprehensive strategy...We need to deal with E-Verify, we need to deal with people that come with a legal visa and overstay. We need to be much more strategic on how we deal with border enforcement, border security. We need to eliminate the sanctuary cities in this country.” (August 2015, Fox GOP Debate)

“We need to narrow the number of people coming in through family petitioning. I would cut it down to spouses and minor siblings as opposed to adults and adult parents.” (August 2015, Voters First Forum)

“Trust me, I know the power of the immigrant experience because I live it each and every day. I know the immigrant experience because I married a beautiful girl from Mexico. My children are bicultural and bilingual.”(April 2015, Politico)

“If you believe in border security, then coming here legally should be easier and carry less risk than coming here illegally…If you want to have secure borders, you also have to have a more open legal system where aspiring people can come in. So a ‘Security First’ approach misses that point.”(November 2013, 92Y forum)