‘Channeling Jeb Bush’: CNN Historian Says Trump’s Speech Was ‘Very Low Energy,’ Midterms Are ‘Depressing’ Him

Harold Hutchison 

A CNN presidential historian said Tuesday night that former President Donald Trump was “channeling Jeb Bush” and had “very low energy” during the announcement of his 2024 presidential campaign, citing Republican losses in the 2022 midterms.

“This was teleprompter Trump, never been the most powerful or effective spokesperson. This was Donald Trump channeling Jeb Bush,” Tim Naftali said. “Very low energy. Very, very unusual presentation from Donald Trump. It surprised me. It surprised me that given the amount of time he’s been thinking about this, this was the best product he could put out.”

“I listened to him in the campaign in Pennsylvania. He was full of energy. He was teasing the fact he was going to announce,” Naftali continued. “You could sense that he wanted to do it. Where was that person tonight? Something has happened. I have a feeling just watching him that the midterm is depressing him tremendously.”


Republican candidates endorsed by former President Donald Trump lost during midterm elections where the GOP underperformed expectations of a “red wave” nationally. Some of the more prominent endorsees who fell short included Senate nominees Adam Laxalt of Nevada, Blake Masters of Arizona and Mehmet Oz of Pennsylvania, while gubernatorial nominees Kari Lake of Arizona and Doug Mastriano of Pennsylvania also lost to their Democratic opponents.

“Our country needs a truly great leader, and we need a truly great leader now. We need a leader that wrote ‘The Art of the Deal,’” Trump said during his announcement speech. “We need a leader that can bring back our jobs, can bring back our manufacturing, can bring back our military, take care of our Vets.”

Naftali contrasted Trump’s involvement in the 2022 midterms with the conduct of Grover Cleveland, who won non-consecutive terms as President in the 1884 and 1892 elections.

“We have actually no historical example of a former president who’s planning to run again participating in a midterm. And for Trump, his problem was, midterms are supposed to catapult you forward. They’re supposed to give you energy and repair or embolden your brand,” Naftali said. “These midterms really hurt him. So yes, he’s a candidate. Yes, he’s going to be a major force. But I don’t think he enters into this race as formidable for fellow Republicans.”

“If President Trump continues this tone and delivers this message on a consistent basis, he will be hard to beat,” Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina posted on Twitter. “His speech tonight, contrasting his policies and results against the Biden administration, charts a winning path for him in the primaries and general election.”

Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.