Jeb Bush wants Republican voters to know about Donald Trump’s past statements supporting liberal policies and politicians.
Bush’s campaign on Tuesday released an 80-second web video that shows Trump expressing support for a woman’s right to have an abortion, complimenting single-payer health care systems in other countries and advocating for higher taxes on the wealthy.
The video also shows Trump praising Hillary Clinton and saying he identifies as a Democrat.
And perhaps with the first-in-the-nation caucus state in mind, the video twice shows Trump saying he has lived in New York his entire life and thus holds views different from Iowans’.
The web video, which is compiled of clips from various interviews and speeches, some going as far back as 1999, is perhaps the most pointed attack yet from within the vast field of Republican candidates seeking the party’s nomination for president on Trump, who has led most recent polls on the race.
“Why are you a Republican @realDonaldTrump … The answer is, you’re not,” read a tweet and link to the video posted Tuesday from Bush’s campaign account.
Trump’s campaign pointed to his response on Twitter, which spanned three tweets.
“Yet another weak hit by a candidate with a failing campaign. Will Jeb sink as low in the polls as the others who have gone after me?” the first tweet read.
“Jeb is spending millions of dollars on ‘hit’ ads funded by lobbyists & special interests. Bad system.”
“While millions are being spent against me in attack ads, they are paid for by the 'bosses' and 'owners' of candidates. I am self funding.”
Three Iowa polls released in the past week had Trump in front or tied for the lead.
Bush was in the second tier or middle of the pack in the same polls.
Two Iowa-based political experts said it remains to be seen whether Bush’s video will increase support for him or soften support for Trump, who thus far has been impervious to such attacks. Other GOP presidential candidates have criticized Trump, but none thus far has caused a dip in his support.
Part of the problem, the experts said, is Trump’s supporters care more about his visage as a political outsider than they do his policies.
“The way Bush is going about it in this ad is saying, ‘Look, Trump is this,’ … and these are things that conservatives don’t agree with. (Bush) is hoping that gets some traction,” said Tim Hagle, a political science professor at the University of Iowa. “Part of the problem is some of the polls have showed that some (Trump supporters) don’t care (about his policies).”
Dennis Goldford, a political science professor at Drake University, called Trump supporters “the middle finger sector of the American electorate” because “they’re sick of politics as usual.” He said Bush has much to gain and little to lose by attacking Trump.
“It’s a two-for-one for Bush. He attacks the front-runner that everybody wants to attack in the party, at least the party establishment,” Goldford said. "And No. 2, he shows a willingness to be aggressive and fight for the nomination."