George P. Bush Trump Endorsement Ensures Awkward Thanksgiving

Well, it's official. George P. Bush, Texas land commissioner and son of former 2016 Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush, went and did something no other Bush has thus far done when he ponied up and endorsed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. 

In the wake of the announcement, all we can think of is how awkward the Bush family Thanksgiving is going to be this year for George P.

After all, he ultimately opted to endorse Trump, the guy who helped tank father Jeb Bush's presidential aspirations (though arguably Jeb's wooden performance on the campaign trail did just as much damage to his Commander-in-Chief dreams). Since then, the rest of the Bush family has refused to endorse or even really acknowledge Trump by name. 

George P. did try to keep his endorsement quiet. Instead of pomp and fanfare, the grandson of former President George H.W. Bush announced he was backing Trump at a Saturday evening gathering of Texas Republicans, according to Texas Tribune.

"From Team Bush, it's a bitter pill to swallow, but you know what? You get back up and you help the man that won, and you make sure that we stop Hillary Clinton," George P. said, according to a video from the event.

At this point you'd have to be living under a rock to have missed that old school Republicans are not exactly biggest fans of Donald Trump. The part's past two presidential nominees, Mitt Romney and Sen. John McCain have found ways to make clear they are not impressed by the orange man who has somehow defied all political reason and logic to become the official GOP contender. Even our own Gov. Greg Abbott was able to endorse Trump without actually getting anywhere near the Donald, himself. 

But the Bush family has led the way on this front, boycotting the candidate for reasons that — as is so often the case with the Bush family — are both political and intensely personal.

After all, Trump took swipes at Jeb every chance he could, constantly referring to Jeb as "low energy" while they were all thundering along on the campaign trail. Trump has also made regular sport out of mocking former President George W. Bush during the 2016 campaign. None of this seemed to go over well with the Bush familia. 

Thus, most of the Bush tribe is steering clear of all things Trump. H.W. and W. skipped the Republican National Convention last month, and their spokespeople stated neither former president will be endorsing Trump. Jeb is still withholding his endorsement and last month noted voters are likely going to be really disappointed in the reality of a Trump presidency since Trump won't be able to do what he's promised and there won't be a wall built on the Mexican government's dime or a ban on Muslim immigration, according to CNN.

And this isn't just about hurt feelings. The issues with Trump and the Bush clan go deeper than the scrapping and name-calling that is, for better or worse, de rigueur for politicking these days — down into the heart of what the Republican party represents. Trump has risen up to the head of the GOP on a platform that has worried many traditional Republicans, including the Bushes.

In April, W. said he's worried he'll be the last Republican president, according to Politico. Last week, W. went even further during a private fundraiser in Cincinatti. He didn't actually name-check Trump, but he sharply criticized Trump's policies of “isolationism, nativism and protectionism,” according to the Wall Street Journal. W. went on to pick apart the ideas Trump has built his "America First" campaign on, including building that "really big wall" between the United States and Mexico, ripping up trade deals, setting up an immigration ban to keep Muslim immigrants out." Meanwhile, H.W. has stayed silent, but his lack of comment and his stated intention not to do any campaigning for Trump says a lot about his stance. Then there's Jeb, father of George P. It doesn't look like he'll be rushing to join his son with even the most tepid "low energy" support for Trump.

However, it seems George P. couldn't be Switzerland and stay officially neutral on this one. 

On Monday, Ann Navarro, a CNN commentator and "Bush family confidante" (whatever that means) tried to see things from the young political scion's point of view, trapped between family loyalty, and his own political ambitions which most likely go far beyond just being Texas land commissioner and, it seems, require an endorsement. (We're sure P. saw how Sen. Ted Cruz's non-endorsement route went over with the GOP last month.) The pragmatic realities of politics apparently trumped (ha) family loyalty in the end.

"I suspect that he feels about as much enthusiasm for supporting Donald Trump as I do about hand-massaged kale," Navarro told Wolf Blitzer. "The guy probably wasn't his 10th choice. But he is the nominee we have, and George P. is doing what he needs to do, and I'm sure his father has absolutely no trouble with it."

Which brings all this around to one big question. How the hell is George P. going to show up at Thanksgiving, family in tow, and face his staunchly-determined-to-wash-their-hands-of-this-mess-of-an-election family? Whether Trump wins, loses or dances a tarantella on the White House lawn and then decides he doesn't want the gig anyhow, the holidays might be hard on the one Bush who has opted to back Trump.

Especially Thanksgiving. P. will be lucky if his grandmother, the formidable former First Lady Barbara Bush, doesn't have him seated at the kiddie table. 

Fingers crossed somebody takes pity on him and slips him some pie. 
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Dianna Wray is a nationally award-winning journalist. Born and raised in Houston, she writes about everything from NASA to oil to horse races.
Contact: Dianna Wray