Here's the difference between Jeb Bush and Donald Trump's public personas:
Jeb Bush is a self-admitted policy nerd. Donald Trump goes around ranting and then has his team draw up something resembling actual policies to match.
Jeb Bush is sometimes capable of nuance and citing actual facts. Donald Trump goes around calling people "losers."
Jeb Bush's campaign, of course, continues to flounder in the polls. Donald Trump's lead continues to seem untouchable.
So this behind-the-scenes skirmish between Trump's personal lawyer and lawyers for Jeb Bush's leadership PAC probably won't do much to help Bush in the polls, but the way his lawyers troll Trump and his staff will certainly tickle political and legal nerds.
First, the backstory: Mike Fernandez, a billionaire in his own right and Jeb Bush mega-donor, ran an ad in Sunday's Miami Herald comparing Trump to Hitler and calling him a "BULLYionaire." Trump's lawyer sent Fernandez a letter informing him they would sue if they found the ad defamatory. Yes, there's quite some irony in that.
Bush's campaign had nothing to do with the ad, but when Trump's lawyer sent a letter threatening to sue Fernandez he also sent one to Jeb Bush's Right to Rise PAC.
Except, Right to Rise is a leadership PAC that Jeb uses to give money to other candidates' campaigns. It's not an entity that runs ads. Bush does have a super PAC that does run ads — the similarly titled Right to Rise USA. The leadership PAC and the super PAC are completely different entities. That might be confusing to some, but it shouldn't be to a lawyer representing a man who hopes to be president of the United States.
But, oh, right, Trump' lawyer who originally sent the letter is Alan Garten, the general counsel for Trump's business. The Federal Elections Committee, however, forbids candidates from using their corporate resources for their campaigns. So the PAC has now filed a complaint against Trump and Garten with the FEC.
And they informed Garten of all of this in a snark-filled letter that was promptly given to the Miami Herald. Here are some highlights:
Trolling Trump's past contributions to Democratic candidates:
In fact, RTR has made almost $300,000 in contributions since its creation in January 2015. Unlike your client, we only support conservative candidates.
Schooling Trump's lawyers in basic laws while throwing jabs at Trump's reality show and his plan to build a wall on the border with Mexico:
The ability to criticize a candidate's record, policies and matters of public importance lies at the heart of the First Amendment, as courts have repeatedly recognized. If you have the time between bankruptcy filings and editing reality show contracts, we urge you to flip through the Supreme Court's decision in New York Times v. Sullivan. If your client is so thin-skinned that he cannot handle his critics' presentation of his own public statements, policies and record to the voting public, and if such communications hurts his feelings, he is welcome to purchase airtime to defend his record. After all, a wall can be built around many things, but not around the First Amendment.
And the parting blow:
Just as your client is attempting to quickly learn the basics of foreign policy, we wish you personally the best in your attempts to learn election law.
Here's the letter in full:
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Will this do anything to help Bush in the long run? Well, do many Trump voters seem to care about actual facts and laws?