Jeb Bush pushed back forcefully against Marco Rubio’s charge that he has zero foreign policy experience on Wednesday, as the two seek to boost their candidacies with a good showing in Saturday’s South Carolina presidential primary.
In recent days, Rubio claimed that the former Florida Governor “has zero foreign policy experience.”
During a town hall meeting in Beaufort, South Carolina Wednesday morning, Jeb called the statement “a low blow.”
“I made about 150 calls to family members who lost loved ones in the line of duty – not an easy thing to do,” Bush stressed. “And for someone who has no experience at all to suggest I don’t – having lived overseas, developing relationships with leaders overseas, being governor of the fourth largest state and being a commander in chief of the Florida national guard.”
Speaking at a campaign rally in Summerville, South Carolina on Tuesday, Rubio contended, “There is no one running on the Republican side that has more experience on foreign policy or national security than I do. No one. It is not even close. I am proud to say that.” According to the junior Republican presidential hopeful, “Building a hotel overseas is not foreign policy experience. Having lived abroad for a year is not foreign policy experience. Having invested money overseas is not foreign policy experience. Foreign policy experience is the work we have done over the last five years. Whether it is sanctions on Hezbollah, whether it is dealing with human trafficking, whether it is dealing with human rights violators in Venezuela — that is foreign policy experience. Warning about ISIS, as I did, before they even existed. Warning that ISIS was a danger when the president was calling it the J.V. team. Warning that Vladimir Putin was going to conduct airstrikes two weeks before he actually did it. That is foreign policy experience, and I am ready to be the commander-in-chief on day number one.”
At the Wednesday town hall meeting, Bush dismissed Rubio’s pitch. “With all due respect Senator Rubio, your four years or five years, or whatever it is, as Senator does not match up to my capabilities of understanding how the world works,” he stated.
A Quinnipiac national poll published on Wednesday showed that Bush leads the Republican field on the issue of experience. According to the poll, 74 percent of Republicans think Jeb has the right kind of experience to be president, while only 54 percent think the same about Rubio.
Responding to Jeb’s accusations, Rubio told reporters following a town hall meeting in Mt. Pleasent, “I’ve never really attacked Governor Bush. What I said about Governor Bush is that he doesn’t have any foreign policy experience. But I don’t view that as an attack. I view that as a fact.”