COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa -- Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush lashed out at Donald Trump on Tuesday, calling the real estate mogul turned candidate’s “rhetoric of divisiveness” counterproductive for Republicans in 2016.
“Whether it’s Donald Trump or Barack Obama, their rhetoric of divisiveness is wrong,” the former Florida governor said to a standing-room-only crowd at Barley’s Pub in Council Bluffs, Iowa. “A Republican will never win by striking fear in people’s hearts.”
With protesters standing outside holding Trump signs and chanting, "No more Bushes in the White House," Bush urged the Republican party to be optimistic. The impromptu press conference followed his most recent swing through Iowa.
"Mr. Trump has the right to have every belief he has, if he's going to run, that's fine," Bush said. "I don't want to be associated with the kind of vitriol that he's spewing out these days."
Bush's remarks came just minutes before a Suffolk University/USA Today poll was released that shows Trump leading the crowded Republican field. Potential primary voters named Trump as their first choice for the 2016 GOP nomination, with 17 percent support, followed by Bush at 14 percent.
HuffPost Pollster, which combines all publicly available polling data, places Bush fourth in the GOP primary field, with 13.9 percent support nationally, up almost 3 points from last month.
Bush said the Republican Party should emphasize bringing people together.
"I do think though from a Republican Party perspective, we have to be big and bold, not decisive and angry," Bush said.