Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump bashed Jeb Bush at a New Hampshire town hall event Wednesday, declaring that his positions on Common Core, Iraq, and immigration helped to make him “unelectable.”
“I would say between Common Core, his ‘act of love’ on immigration [comment], and ‘skin in the game’ with Iraq … I don’t see how he is electable,” Trump said of his rival.
Trump’s remarks seek to turn the tables on Bush, whose moderate “electability” is supposed to be a key asset.
Trump’s town hall in Derry, New Hampshire was in direct rivalry with a Bush town hall held at the same time nine miles away. Trump has openly admitted he scheduled his event partly to compete with Bush.
“Because Bush draws so poorly, I figured it would be a good time to draw a crowd,” Trump told The Wall Street Journal. Trump’s judgment may have been sound: According to CNN, about 1,500 people were at Trump’s event, while Bush’s had only about 200.
Trump also hit Bush for his recent comment that the government didn’t need to spend “half a billion dollars for women’s health issues,” and said he would be far better on the issue.
“Nobody is going to be better on women’s health issues than Donald Trump,” Trump said.
Trump hasn’t spoken as much on education as he has on other issues, but when asked by a reporter Wednesday night he reiterated that his position on Common Core was a key difference between him and Bush.
“I am not a Common Core person. Jeb Bush wants Common Core. I want local education,” he said.
Trump also slammed the Department of Education, saying he would gut the vast majority of the department and leave only “little pieces” remaining.
“The Department of Education has done a terrible job,” he said, pointing to America’s high per-student spending and mediocre test scores. “Largely it should be shut down. I am very surprised to hear that other of the candidates don’t want it touched, because that really does surprise me.”
Eliminating the Department of Education entirely is a common Republican talking point, having been proposed by candidates Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Perry. Others have at least partially defended the department, with John Kasich saying Wednesday that Republicans who speak of “killing” the department alienated moderates concerned about American schools.