The 2016 presidential race began to heat up this week with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush announcing he has decided to “actively explore the possibility of running for president of the United States,” but many of his fellow Republicans in Congress were noticeably lukewarm on his bid for the White House.
Across the Republican political spectrum on national security—from the hawkish trio of John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Kelly Ayotte to the more moderate Rob Portman of Ohio and Tea Party conservative Ted Cruz—a number of senators acknowledged Bush’s shallow experience on defense issues.
Asked what she thinks of a Bush campaign from a national-security perspective, Ayotte answered, “I don’t know. I haven’t heard what his views are on national security yet … maybe he’s stated that, but I haven’t been following him on foreign policy.”
“The bottom line is Ronald Reagan was a governor, too, so there’s a long precedence of governors coming to the White House and being able to make that transition,” she said. “So I don’t think that that, per se, is a disqualifier, but I would want to know what his vision is—particularly on the pressing issues we have around the world right now.”
A recent survey of national-security workers and troops ranked Bush just behind former Massachusetts Governors Mitt Romney among potential picks for 2016, but Bush is better known for his tenure as governor, education work, and famous family than as a prominent figure on foreign policy.