Jonathan Bush, cousin of former president George W. Bush and founder of Watertown-based athenahealth, entered the political arena this week, with a speech to state Republicans that both mocked Donald Trump and blamed the party for his rise.
Speaking to Tuesday night’s Lincoln-Reagan Dinner at the downtown Boston State Room, Bush “talked about how there’s a lot of anger out there,” said one attendee.
He elaborated in a phone interview, a portion of which was conducted while Bush was riding his bicycle.
“You don’t get a hateful guy if people aren’t feeling a lot of hateful frustration,” Bush said of Trump, before excoriating what he called a failed system that has made starting a business nearly impossible for all but the elites.
“We as Republicans created a demand for a Trump,” Bush said, adding, “Let us not blame the people who support him and let us not blame him.”
Bush called Tuesday’s remarks his “first political speech since I was 18.” He won’t vote for Trump: “If he was a little bit less clinically narcissistic, I would vote for him.” Fearful of a national security apparatus in Trump’s hands, he added, “That’s the only reason I’m not voting for him, not because he’s an [expletive].”
Which leaves him deciding between Democrat Hillary Clinton and the Libertarian ticket of Gary Johnson and Bill Weld. And he blamed himself for not being more politically active, instead concentrating on his health care tech firm.
“I feel like an idiot,” he said, adding, “I’ve [allowed] this coopting of the American opportunity into such a profound welfare state that nothing is free to do.”
To the point that he is tempted to put his own name on the ballot? Not quite.
“I think about it all the time, but I feel like I’d get sucked in” to that same welfare-state system, he said.
“First of all, we need another Bush like I need a hole in my head,” Bush said, referring to the dynasty’s parade of political candidates.
“I don’t want to be another Bush, but I do want to be politically active, I do want to provide air cover,” he said.