Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush appeared on the first episode of Late Show With Stephen Colbert to go face-to-face with a man who spent a decade turning faux-Conservatism into an art form. Over the course of their discussion, Bush and Stephen Colbert talked about the “game of Bloodsport” known as politics, gun control, Donald Trump and Barack Obama.
“I’m going to say something that’s heretic, I guess: I don’t think Barack Obama has bad motives. I just think he’s wrong on a lot of issues,” Bush said, paying the president the thinnest of compliments. “If you start with the premise that people have good motives, you can find common ground.” Bush then admits that he hopes to “restore a degree of civility” in Washington, noting that politics on the local level isn’t nearly as contemptuous.
As Colbert’s premiere episode ran long, the highlight of the Bush interview – the non-obscene question the winner of Colbert’s raffle could ask the Republican presidential candidate – was relegated to a YouTube-only bonus clip. The winner of Colbert’s contest wanted Bush to discuss his plans for gun control legislation, even though the Republican Party has staunchly supported Second Amendment rights despite the “almost-weekly deadly consequences” in this country.
Bush used Florida, where he served as governor, as an example of smart gun control, since a background check and a 72-hour waiting period were required for all weapon purchases. “Florida would be considered a Second Amendment, pro-gun state, but gun violence is way down,” Bush said. As for the NRA’s efforts to prevent mandatory mental health checks, Bush recommends that the issue be dealt with on a state-by-state, and not national, level. “New York’s a lot different than rural Florida, so why would you want to impose national gun laws on top of every circumstance in this country?” Bush asked.
Finally, Colbert and Bush tackled “the big, orange elephant in the room”: Donald Trump. In an effort to help Bush make more of an impact at the upcoming Republican debate, Colbert offered up some Trumpified answers for Bush to read that would help diminish the Donald’s lead. “I will turn the National Mall into a luxury golf course, and China will respect that,” Bush said. “I promise to put Meat Loaf on the $10 bill, and give Lil Jon a Cabinet position which would send the message that this great nation would never…turn down for what.”