If former Gov. Jeb Bush was looking for attention online, he certainly got it.
On Tuesday, the GOP candidate made a campaign stop at FN America’s firearm-manufacturing plant in South Carolina. He received a .45-caliber handgun
engraved with his name as a gift, which he tweeted along with a single word: “America.”
The tweet went viral as Bush’s name trended on Twitter and started appearing in headlines. Though the candidate captured attention, the move ultimately backfired as negative sentiments rolled in.
Many tweeted replies similar to government whistleblower Edward Snowden’s:
Other users responded with ridicule and snark, parodying Bush’s tweet or using Photoshop to mock him:
Bush later told reporters that he was unaware of the
tweet—but that it was a tribute to his appearance at the firearm manufacturer.
“The purpose was we went to a gun manufacturing facility where lots of jobs are created, high-wage jobs,” Bush said, “and I received a gun, and I was
honored to have it.”
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The move was probably made to show solidarity with Republicans who favor gun ownership.
In September 2015, The Telegraph reported that Bush was one of only three GOP candidates who did not own a gun. The other two candidates—Carly Fiorina and New Jersey Gov. Chris
Christie—recently suspended their respective presidential campaigns.
reported that Bush’s lack of gun ownership—despite his “A+” rating from the National Rifle Association—distanced him from many Republican voters:
Either way, Jeb’s lack of gun ownership is a big problem. It further reinforces the widely held belief among conservatives that Jeb is a "Republican in
Name Only" (RINO). Jeb supports a pathway to amnesty for illegal immigrants. Last year, he even lamented that they break the law to come to America out of
“an act of love” to help their families. Then there's Jeb's support of Common Core, national educational testing standards, which most Republicans disdain.
Though Bush was given the handgun on Tuesday, it is unknown whether he has permits to own it. Even if he did,
Washington Post contributor Alexandra Petri said, it wouldn’t help the poll numbers:
The sad news is that this gun is already polling higher than Jeb! In South Carolina. … The only problem voters say they have with the gun is his name on