Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush said Tuesday that the U.S. and other Western powers need to clearly state the “consequences” Russian President Vladimir Putin will face in advance, rather than reacting to incidents like the fight over control of Ukraine.
“I don’t think we should be reacting to bad behavior, by being clear of what the consequences of that bad behavior is in advance I think we will deter the kind of aggression we fear from Russia. But always reacting and giving the sense we’re reacting in a tepid fashion only enables the bad behavior of Putin,” Bush told a crowd in Berlin on Tuesday.
In his speech, Bush said that the global order established after World War II is essential for keeping Russia in check. He noted that German Chancellor Angela Merkel had done a good job of laying out consequences, but also said that the U.S.-Russia “reset button” had failed – a clear dig into the policy that President Barack Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton set almost eight years ago.
He made a series of last-minute changes to his campaign staff, announced Monday, including moving presumptive campaign chief David Kochel over to strategy and tapping aggressive Republican communications strategist Danny Diaz to run the day-to-day operations.
Bush looked like a potential GOP front-runner a little more than six months ago, when he announced he was considering a run for president. But since then, a wide variety of Republican contenders has emerged and drawn away much of that early support, from staunchly conservative former neurosurgeon Ben Carson to polished Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
CNN’s Dana Bash contributed to this report.