President Donald Trump on Wednesday found a member of the Bush family he likes: George P. Bush.
The 42-year-old son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a 2016 GOP primary rival of the president, holds one of the most powerful offices in Texas, that of land commissioner. He is the nephew of former President George W. Bush and grandson of the late former President George H.W. Bush. Trump during the 2016 Republican primary fight dubbed his father “Low Energy Jeb.”
“This is the only Bush that likes me, this is the only one!” he said. “Truly, this is the Bush that got it right!”
Both the 41st president, before his death, and the 43rd have criticized Trump — though sometimes without identifying him by name.
For the young member of the Bush family, who reportedly has bigger political aspirations, appearing with Trump is strategically wise. Trump still polls well with GOP voters there.
And the president’s latest appearance in the Lone Start State comes after a Morning Consult poll shows his approval rating there dipping 16 percentage point since he took office, to 50 percent. Democrats are eyeing an outside shot at turning the state blue in 2020, especially given upstart Democratic White House hopeful Beto O’Rourke, a former congressman who gave Sen. Ted Cruz a run for his money in the 2018 midterms.
The president also hailed an executive order he signed at the same event by saying it would give him the ability to approve or reject cross-border infrastructure projects. His critics, however, say the order reflects his efforts to run U.S. foreign policy out of the Oval Office, something Republican lawmakers criticized his predecessor, Barack Obama, for allegedly doing.
Trump was in Texas for fundraisers in San Antonio and Houston, with the energy infrastructure speech and executive orders-signing ceremony in Crosby in between. The two orders he will sign are designed to “help American energy companies avoid unnecessary red tape,” according to an administration official.
One of the orders would shrink the amount of time states have to approve or reject pipeline project applications. Section 401 of the Clean Water Act gives the states the authority and it has been upheld twice by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The orders would benefit American energy companies, which have griped that states’ extended review processes have hurt their bottom lines by preventing them from expanding production.
But environmental groups like the National Wildlife Federation say the White House’s “proposal would make it more likely that the states can’t make a decision in time, which effectively waives the state’s ability to object to harmful projects.”
Jim Murphy, senior counsel for the federation, said the order altering states’ review time “could be disastrous, putting at risk a state’s ability to protect the lakes, rivers, streams, and other waters that support its drinking water supply, outdoor economy, and wildlife from pollution and degradation. This action would be a direct attack on clean water.”