Jeb Bush calls Donald Trump an "a**hole"

Tell us what you really think, Jeb

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published August 6, 2015 6:22PM (EDT)

  (AP/John Locher/M. Spencer Green/Photo montage by Salon)
(AP/John Locher/M. Spencer Green/Photo montage by Salon)

"Wrong" and "out of touch."

Those are the harshest criticisms Jeb Bush leveled against his leading GOP rival, Donald Trump, on the campaign trail, but a new report alleges that behind closed doors, the former Florida governor has no problem berating The Donald.

Politico reports today that in a recent private conversation with a Republican donor, Bush ripped into the New York billionaire, calling him “a buffoon,” “clown” and “asshole.”

Now if those insults sound more like Trump's flavor and less Jeb's flare, that would be because we've all grown accustomed to hearing Trump hurl insults like "loser," and "weak" at his Republican opponents. Bush, on the other hand, has produced much milder critiques of his fellow conservatives.

“Trump is wrong on this," Bush asserted belatedly after controversy swelled around Trump's comments comparing Mexican immigrants to "criminals" and "rapists."

“I don’t think he represents the Republican Party, and his views are way outside the mainstream of what most Republicans think,” Bush finally told reporters in July. Trump made his insulting comments during his campaign kick-off at Trump Tower in June. “I was hurt, hearing someone speaking in such a vulgar fashion.”

Even when defending his wife Columba, a Mexican immigrant, from Trump's attacks, Bush failed to deliver as much oomph as his campaign's logo, Jeb!, would suggest:

My wife is from Mexico. I love her dearly. Been married for 41 years. I am not going to stop loving my wife. I’m pretty comfortable with that position. I’ll stick with it for a while.”

“You can love the Mexican culture and love your Mexican-American wife and also believe we need to control the border. This is a bizarre kind of idea that somehow you can have an affection for people in a different country and not think the rule of law should apply. This is ludicrous.

To be fair, not many can go toe-to-toe with the human insult generator, but it appears as though Bush's as fed up with Trump's antics as one could expect and is willing to say as much -- behind closed doors:

“Seriously, what’s this guy’s problem?” he asked one party donor he ran into recently, according to accounts provided by several sources close to Bush—and he went on to describe the publicity-seeking real estate developer now surging in public polls far ahead of Bush and all the 15 others in the Republican field as “a buffoon,” “clown” and “asshole.”

It's doubtful Bush will bring that level of fire to tonight's debate stage as he recently told a crowd that his main priority is finding “a way to reweave the web of civility.”

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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2016 Campaign 2016 Elections Donald Trump Gop Gop Civil War Gop Debates Jeb Bush