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WASHINGTON(Reuters) – Former candidate Jeb Bush endorsed Ted Cruz for the Republican presidential nomination on Wednesday, saying the U.S. senator from Texas represents the party’s best chance of winning the White House.

In a statement, the former Florida governor called Cruz a consistent, principled conservative who has demonstrated an ability to appeal to voters and win primary contests.

“Washington is broken, and the only way Republicans can hope to win back the White House and put our nation on a better path is to support a nominee who can articulate how conservative policies will help people rise up and reach their full potential,” Bush said.

The 63-year-old Bush, whose father and brother served as president, dropped out of the presidential nomination fight after losing badly in South Carolina on Feb. 20.

The endorsement comes as establishment Republicans scramble to stop front-runner Donald Trump from winning the nomination because of his divisive proposals like a plan to deport 11 million illegal immigrants.

Cruz has run in second place behind Trump and could conceivably win enough Republican delegates to take the nomination.

Ohio Governor John Kasich’s lone path to the nomination is to extend the nomination race until the party’s national convention in July. The idea is to deny Trump the required 1,237 delegates needed and force party leaders to consider someone else.

A source close to Bush said Bush picked Cruz because he has the most viable path to the nomination and has shown that he can win states. The source said Bush considers a push for a contested convention to be a “hail-Mary strategy at best.”

In the weeks after he withdrew, Bush met in Miami with former rivals Cruz, Kasich and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. Rubio dropped out of the race after losing Florida last week. Bush spoke by phone to Cruz on Monday.

In his statement, Bush resumed his sharp criticism of Trump, saying Republican voters must move to overcome “the divisiveness and vulgarity” that Trump has brought into the political arena “or we will certainly lose our chance to defeat the Democratic nominee and reverse President (Barack) Obama’s failed policies.”

“To win, Republicans need to make this election about proposing solutions to the many challenges we face, and I believe that we should vote for Ted as he will do just that,” Bush said.

In a statement, Cruz said Bush’s endorsement “is further evidence that Republicans are continuing to unite behind our campaign to nominate a proven conservative” to defeat Democratic favorite Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 election.

 

 

(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Michael Perry)

Photo: Republican U.S. presidential candidate and former Governor Jeb Bush (L) listens as U.S. Senator Ted Cruz speaks at the Republican U.S. presidential candidates debate sponsored by CBS News and the Republican National Committee in Greenville, South Carolina February 13, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Blake Neff

Twitter screenshot

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

On July 10, CNN's Oliver Darcy reported that Blake Neff, the top writer for Tucker Carlson's prime-time Fox News show, had been anonymously posting racist, misogynistic, homophobic, and other offensive content on an online forum for five years. Neff used racist and homophobic slurs, referred to women in a derogatory manner, and pushed white supremacist content while writing for Carlson's show. Neff resigned after CNN contacted him for comment.

As Darcy reported, in an interview with the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine, Neff claimed anything Carlson read during his show was initially drafted by him. Darcy also found instances where there was "some overlap between the forum and the show," as sometimes the "material Neff encountered on the forum found its way on to Carlson's show."

During a 2018 appearance on Fox's The Five to promote his book Ship of Fools, Carlson mentioned Neff by name, calling him a "wonderful writer." Carlson also included Neff in the acknowledgments of the book.


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Before joining Fox News, Neff worked at The Daily Caller, a conservative news outlet that Carlson co-founded. The outlet has published a number of white supremacists, anti-Semites, and bigots.


Carlson has a long history of promoting white supremacist content on his show. His show has featured many guests who have connections to white supremacy and far-right extremism. Carlson has regularly been praised by Neo-Nazis and various far-right extremist figures, and he's been a hero on many white supremacist podcasts. Users of the extremist online message boards 4chan and 8chan have repeatedly praised Carlson.

The manifesto released by the gunman who killed 20 people in El Paso, Texas, in 2019 was strewn with content that echoed talking points from Carlson's show. Days after the shooting, Carlson declared that calling white supremacy a serious issue is a "hoax" as it is "actually not a real problem in America."

Carlson has been hemorrhaging advertisers following his racist coverage of the Black Lives Matters movement and the recent protests against police brutality. Now that we know his top writer was using content from white supremacist online message boards for Carlson's show, it is more imperative than ever that advertisers distance their brands away from this toxicity.