Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush criticized Donald Trump in a speech before the Westside Conservative Club in Urbandale, which is hosting Republican candidates ahead of the February 1 caucuses.
Bush addressed a full house over breakfast at the Machine Shed restaurant.
Trump leads the Republican pack in most national polls, and in a poll of Iowa voters released this week by Quinnipiac University. He trails Ted Cruz by three points in the latest Des Moines Register’s Iowa Poll.
Bush declared that Trump is not a conservative, and he chastised other candidates for not taking him on.
Bush says he understands why voters are disaffected and turning to an outsider.
“No one in Washington seems to care,” Bush says. “I got that. But Donald Trump is not a conservative. He’s a big personality. I guess that’s entertaining.”
Bush says he’s the only Republican candidate openly criticizing Trump.
“Everyone else has made an assessment that it’s inappropriate to go after the winning candidate because he’ll attack you,” Bush says. “Everybody’s scared of the guy. I’m not.”
Bush named Trump’s shortfalls on conservative issues, including gun rights and foreign trade. And he mocked Trump for praising Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
On immigration, Bush criticized Trump for claiming that undocumented workers will self-deport. Bush says undocumented workers should be given a path to legal status.
The former Florida governor outlined his conservative successes in Florida, including a smaller government workforce and vouchers for private schools.
Bush says most voters have not made up their minds, and he’s not concerned about his weak showing in Iowa polls.