Jeb Bush's sudden interest in seeking the 2016 Republican presidential nomination spells trouble for Mitt Romney and Chris Christie, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay says.
"It will definitely hurt Mitt Romney, and it hurts Chris Christie too," DeLay said Wednesday on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
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"But that's OK as far as I'm concerned, because I'm looking for a constitutional conservative. I'm looking for somebody that will stand up for the Constitution and Jeb Bush is not my kind of Republican."
Bush — younger brother of former President George W. Bush and son of former President George H.W. Bush — announced Tuesday that he is considering a run to make it a family trifecta.
"[I will] actively explore the possibility of running for president of the United States," Bush said, adding that he made the decision over Thanksgiving after a heart-to-heart talk with his family.
DeLay — a former congressman who served the 22nd District of Texas and now hosts a radio show for the Washington Times — is right of Bush's center, but said he still respects him.
"I like him a lot. I don't support him and I won't support him, but he was a good governor in Florida," DeLay said.
"He governed from a conservative point of view, and he's got to be the front-runner right now because he's got the entire Bush organization nationwide at his disposal.
"That's why he's coming out so early, because he's already gained a lot of people's support and he's in a very strong position right now."
Before Bush's announcement, the two front-runners were former Massachusetts Gov. Romney, who lost the 2012 election to President Barack Obama, and New Jersey Gov. Christie, chairman of the Republican Governors Association.
DeLay also expressed dismay at the announcement by Obama that the U.S. will seek to normalize relations with Cuba.
"This is really bad news. I have a personal bias against Cuba and Venezuela because I was raised in Venezuela and had some incidents when we were traveling back and forth stopping in Cuba to refuel, and I won't go into all of that, but this is just beyond the pale," he said.
"I am so upset that this president is going to open up and even put an embassy in Cuba without any sort of concessions from Cuba. This is surrender, this is a president who is a socialist to begin with, reaching out to his socialist friends and opening up relationships with one of the most oppressive regimes in the world."
He said the only regime more brutal than Cuba's is that of North Korea.
"The people of Cuba have suffered for 50 years under the Castros, and all Obama is going to do is embolden and empower the Castros even more. This is just a sad day for the people of Cuba."
DeLay said there is much Obama can do on Cuba without the approval of Congress — although he says many lawmakers on Capitol Hill want a relationship between the U.S. and Cuba.
"He can give away a lot of things. He can negotiate, but to be honest with you, I see a trend in Congress towards normalization of relations with Cuba," he said.
"You got some Republicans that want to open up Cuba. Jeff Flake, the senator from Arizona, is one of them, and probably [Sen.] Rand Paul [of Kentucky] is another.
"I don't know what will happen in the next two years in Congress. I know they won't try to stop Obama in empowering the Castros in Cuba, and the oppression goes on."
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