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 ever run for office again.
Bush, who is spending two weeks at a Texas A&M University teaching a course on the role of governors, said Thursday that he’s focused on building up his business again and working with the foundation he created to push for changes in education policy.
“I unraveled everything I was doing to prepare for this – you don’t do that lightly,” said Bush. “I just think this was my chance. The conditions of this election weren’t tailor made for me and I lost. But I’m not in therapy. I’m not in the fetal position. Life goes on.”
Bush, who was Florida’s governor from 1999 to 2007, is also dismissive of a return to the governor’s mansion. Under Florida’s Constitution Bush could run again for that office.
“It’s the best job in the world, but look, I’m not inclined to do it,” Bush said.
When Bush, the son of former president George H.W. Bush and brother of former president George W. Bush, jumped into the race for the Republican nomination in 2015, he was initially viewed as the front runner. He quickly raised millions of dollars. But he encountered stiff resistance winning over GOP voters ready to embrace a political outsider like Trump. He ended his bid for the White House after a disappointing finish in the South Carolina primary.
Since his defeat, Bush has rejoined the foundation he created to push for changes in education policy that often drawn opposition from teacher unions and Democrats. Last month, the Pittsburgh-based law firm of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney announced that Bush will act as a strategic consultant to the firm and its clients. Bush’s consulting firm Jeb Bush & Associates will focus primarily on Florida.
“I can’t be unemployed forever,” Bush said.
Bush next week will wrap up a special course he’s been teaching this month at the Bush School of Government and Public Service. While he’s been on the Texas A&M campus, he’s been asked about Trump, who mocked Bush during the bruising GOP nomination battle. During a public appearance earlier this week, Bush said he hoped Trump will be successful as president. He also praised some of Trump’s picks for his Cabinet.
But he also said Trump should stop using Twitter, which the president-elect has used to announce his support and displeasure with opponents and the media. He said he hoped incoming first lady Melania Trump “will steal his phone.”