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Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham: I Won't Vote for Trump or Clinton

Image: Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham: I Won't Vote for Trump or Clinton

By    |   Friday, 06 May 2016 01:44 PM

Sen. Lindsey Graham and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush both said Friday they will not vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton in the November general election.

Graham, a South Carolina Republican, told CNN Friday he doesn't believe Trump is a "reliable conservative Republican." And not voting for Clinton, he said, is an "easy" choice.

"Trumpism is not conservatism. That will be obvious to many people," Graham told reporter Dana Bash.

"Good luck to [House Speaker] Paul Ryan finding a conservative agenda with this guy. I don't think he has the temperament or judgment to be commander in chief. A lot of colleagues will vote for him. Some hold their nose. I can't go there with Donald."

In a lengthy Facebook post Friday afternoon, Bush made his feelings known about Trump's standing as the Republican party's leading candidate.
   
"The American Presidency is an office that goes beyond just politics. It requires of its occupant great fortitude and humility and the temperament and strong character to deal with the unexpected challenges that will inevitably impact our nation in the next four years," Bush wrote.

"Donald Trump has not demonstrated that temperament or strength of character. He has not displayed a respect for the Constitution. And, he is not a consistent conservative. These are all reasons why I cannot support his candidacy. In November, I will not vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton."

Graham pointed to several reasons why he won't get onboard the Trump train, which has steamrolled through the primary season. Trump is the last active candidate in the race and became the Republican Party's presumptive nominee this week.

"Quite frankly, he lost me when he said my friend John McCain was a loser because he was captured as a POW," Graham said. "He lost me when he accused George W. Bush of lying to the American people about the Iraq war. And he thinks [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's a good guy. I can't go there. I respect people who can."

Graham also said he will join with other veteran Republicans this summer, including 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney, both Presidents George H.W. and George W. Bush, Arizona Sen. John McCain and others who plan to stay away from the party's national convention in Cleveland this July.

The South Carolina senator's refusal to vote for Trump is the latest in a series of complaints he has made about the New York businessman, who he labeled last year as a "race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot," who voters should tell to "go to hell."

"I have a hard time supporting somebody for president who spent thousands of dollars of their own money trying to find out if President Obama was born in Kenya vs. Hawaii," Graham told CNN. "I think that's crazy. I'm glad we're having the convention in Cleveland and not Area 51. I think Donald Trump is going to places where very few people have gone and I'm not going with him."

There are other former candidates, though, who plan to support Trump's nomination, including former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and ex-Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, although both said they still have some reservations.

"He is not a perfect man," Perry told CNN. "But what I do believe is that he loves this country and he will surround himself with capable, experienced people and he will listen to them."

Jindal, meanwhile, told CNN's "New Day" program Friday that he's voting for Trump "not because I had an epiphany, not that I think he's a Ronald Reagan. Nothing will convince me he is the next Reaganesque president. I'm voting for Donald Trump because I don't think we can afford four more years of liberal incompetence. I don't think Hillary Clinton is the right leader for our country."

Graham said he can't bring himself to vote for Clinton either, because that would lead to "a third term of Barack Obama." The pair worked closely on several matters when Clinton represented New York in the Senate.

Graham admitted he will support the new president from his Senate seat once he or she takes office next year.

"If [Trump] becomes president of the United States, I will do everything I can to help President Trump or President Clinton," Graham said. "Unfortunately, this is a race to the bottom in 2016. The two most unpopular people in modern history."

Graham also referenced Trump's Thursday post on Twitter that showed him eating a taco bowl, an apparent attempt at gaining support among Hispanics.

"Eating a taco is probably not going to fix the problems we have with Hispanics," he said. "I think embracing Donald Trump is embracing demographic death."

Since he's not concentrating on the presidential election, Graham plans to turn his focus on Republican congressional races, saying in his statement he plans to concentrate on South Carolina and nationwide and to "focus my time, energy and effort on raising resources and advocating for our Republican majorities in the House and Senate."

Graham posted his thoughts to Twitter shortly before the CNN interview aired.




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Sen. Lindsey Graham and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush both said Friday they will not vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton in the November general election.
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2016-44-06
Friday, 06 May 2016 01:44 PM
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