When Jeb Bush announced that Donald Trump is “as divisive as Barack Obama,” guess which one Fox News host Greta Van Susteren asked for more details about?
Bush visited On The Record to discuss, as FoxNews.com put it, “his latest war of words with Donald Trump, why he feels he has new momentum after the NH primaries going into South Carolina and more.”
After Van Susteren wished Bush a happy birthday, he spoke generally about Trump’s divisiveness.
BUSH: He’s a competing version of negativity and pessimism and divisiveness. And for a conservative to win, we need to have a hopeful, optimistic message and that’s my case that I’ll make on Saturday night and the fact that Donald Trump may not like the fact that I’m going after him, that’s just tough luck. I mean, he disparages people. I’m not disparaging him. I’m just pointing out that his record, his ideas are not the serious ideas that we need to lead this country forward.
Later, Van Susteren noted that Bush had likened Trump’s divisiveness to President Obama. But she only wanted examples of Obama’s divisiveness.
VAN SUSTEREN: You mentioned that President Obama and Donald Trump, and correct me if I’m wrong, that they both divide, they’re more divisive than they are uniters. How is President Obama that way? How does that manifest itself?
When I first heard this, I thought Van Susteren was challenging Bush’s comparison of Trump to Obama. But she was not. She remained silent as Bush went on to distort Obama’s record and blow the “secret Muslim” dog whistle.
BUSH: Oh, all the time. Whenever someone disagrees with him, he, for example, on the Iranian agreement, which I think is a disastrous agreement for our country, in the midst of the debate, rather than defend his position and persuade, he says Republicans were in cahoots with the death to America crowd. I mean, really? I mean, you consider the fact that he negotiated with the same people that chant death to America, but this is always his tendency.
In reality, President Obama did not say Republicans were in cahoots with the “death to America” crowd. Obama was saying that he was in cahoots with the modern, forward-thinkers in Iran and he likened Republicans in the U.S. to the out-of-touch hardliners who refuse to accept change in Iran. He clearly did not mean that Republicans and the Iranian hardliners were working together in any way.
From President Obama’s 2015 remarks on the Iran nuclear deal”
I recognize that resorting to force may be tempting in the face of the rhetoric and behavior that emanates from parts of Iran. It is offensive. It is incendiary. We do take it seriously. But superpowers should not act impulsively in response to taunts, or even provocations that can be addressed short of war. Just because Iranian hardliners chant “Death to America” does not mean that that’s what all Iranians believe.
In fact, it’s those hardliners who are most comfortable with the status quo. It’s those hardliners chanting “Death to America” who have been most opposed to the deal. They’re making common cause with the Republican caucus.
But Van Susteren did not correct Bush’s misleading smear. Nor did she note that it was downright Trump-ish.
Watch it below, from the February 11 On The Record.