The Hypocrisy of Jeb Bush, Circa 2004

That Time Jeb Bush Praised Attacks on John Kerry’s Military Record


This past weekend, Donald Trump made some ugly remarks about John McCain’s military record. And as you might expect, the other Republicans running for president (as well as my counterparts over at the RNC) were quick to denounce their current frontrunner.

Immediately, I thought of 2004 — when so many of these Republicans did the same thing after John Kerry was falsely attacked for his military record.

Oh right, that didn’t happen. These same people were right there supporting the smears.

An outside group called the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth released an ad that slandered Kerry’s time serving our country in Vietnam. Featuring veterans who didn’t even serve alongside Secretary Kerry, the ad spread false accusations on his record and called into question his loyalty and service to our country.

Jeb Bush was deeply appreciative of their effort to discredit a decorated war veteran in support of his brother’s reelection campaign. He wrote a letter thanking the Swift Boat Veterans for smearing Secretary Kerry’s record:

“As someone who truly understands the risk of standing up for something, I simply cannot express in words how much I value their willingness to stand up against John Kerry.”

Yesterday, Bush stood by the letter, saying that he wasn’t going to change his mind on their effort that called Kerry’s military service into question.

Secretary Kerry’s military record represents honor, courage, and commitment to our country. Just like John McCain’s. Just like my father’s and brother’s service, and like the brave men and women who serve in our armed forces every day — keeping America safe.

The GOP can’t have it both ways. John McCain, John Kerry, and all veterans should be treated with the care and respect they deserve for serving our country — not maligned by baseless slights against their heroism.

Clearly Jeb Bush doesn’t seem to think that is the case. Why is he comfortable with ugly attacks against one decorated veteran, but not another?

Jeb Bush should know better. There is no place for this type of partisan hypocrisy in our White House.

Amy K. Dacey is the Chief Executive Officer of the Democratic National Committee. She was the traveling political director for John Kerry during his 2004 presidential campaign.