"Stop it with this s**t": Dubya reportedly calls baby brother Jeb! to set his flailing campaign straight

New book details how George W. Bush told Jeb! to knock off his dithering over the Bush legacy

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published November 30, 2015 5:04PM (EST)

  (Reuters/Jim Young/Rebecca Cook/Photo montage by Salon)
(Reuters/Jim Young/Rebecca Cook/Photo montage by Salon)

Buzzfeed's McKay Coppins is out with a new book this week, detailing the rise of the current 2016 GOP crop of presidential wannabes through more than 300 interviews with lawmakers and campaign operatives between November 2012 and September 2015 and according to his reporting, George W. Bush is none too impressed with his baby brother's attempt to win back the White House for the Bush dynasty.

"The Wilderness: Deep Inside the Republican Party’s Combative, Contentious, Chaotic Quest to Take Back the White House," is Coppins' book out on Tuesday, and according to an excerpt published by Politico, the elder Bush brother called Jeb! early during his campaign kick-off to tell him to "stop it with this shit," and properly "say whatever you have to say”:

As the day of his campaign kickoff pep rally approached, Jeb Bush was a man sorely lacking in pep. … He was … growing increasingly resentful of the political reporters who kept trying to bait him into bashing his brother. … Over four grueling days, he ducked and dodged and dithered on the Iraq question, fumbling through five different non-answers until finally Dubya called up Jeb and told him to knock it off. ‘Stop it with this shit,’ the former president told his little brother. ‘Say whatever you have to say.

Back in May, Bush repeatedly fumbled to answer a simple question by Fox News' Megyn Kelly if “knowing what we know now,” he still would have invaded Iraq.

“I would have,” Jeb confidently proclaimed before bizarrely admitting that both he and his brother knew the invasion was a mistake. "By the way, guess who thinks those mistakes took place as well?” Bush asked Kelly. “George W. Bush. So just for (a) newsflash to the world, if they’re trying to find places where there’s big space between me and my brother, this might not be one of those.”

Jeb! would go on to claim he misheard Kelly's question but continued to suffer a series of setbacks for his campaign. He currently polls at 5.3 percent nationally, according to the Real Clear Politics average.

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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