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George P. Bush learns a valuable lesson about the Trumpified GOP

Texas' George P. Bush now knows that in the Trumpified Republican Party, bending the knee, kissing the ring, and sacrificing one's dignity isn't enough.


Ordinarily, a primary contest in a state attorney general's race wouldn't generate national news, but this Republican primary is ... special.

Former President Donald Trump on Monday threw his support behind Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, who is being challenged for re-election in a primary by George P. Bush, the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

There are two elements of this, both of which are amazing.

Let's start with the Texan who received the former president's backing. Incumbent state Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) was already under indictment on felony securities fraud charges when members of his own team recently made multiple criminal allegations against him.

Late last year, FBI agents arrived at Paxton's door, and last month, the Texas bar association launched an investigation into Paxton's alleged professional misconduct.

It was against this backdrop that the scandal-plagued state attorney general isn't just running for re-election, he's also picked up Trump's formal backing. The former president assured Texans last night that Paxton "will never let you down!"

No, of course not. Perish the thought.

But to fully appreciate what makes this amazing, consider the plight of Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush (R), Paxton's 2022 primary rival, who clearly hoped to prevent last night's news.

The Republican's last name is no doubt familiar: Bush is the son of a governor (Jeb Bush), the nephew of a president (George W. Bush), the grandson of a president (George H.W. Bush), and the great grandson of a senator (Prescott Bush).

But circling back to our earlier coverage, George P. Bush, unlike other high-profile members of his family, has gone out of his way to ingratiate himself with Trump, including endorsing his possible 2024 candidacy. Politico recently reported that the former president has noticed the Texan's sycophantic efforts:

"...George P. has played this exactly right, and he's definitely more conservative than his dad, and Trump knows that," said one Trump confidante who discussed the race with him recently. "But I can tell you the president enjoys the prospect of knowing how much it kills Jeb that his son has to bend the knee and kiss the ring. Who's your daddy? Trump loves that."

Yes, for the record, that is as creepy as it sounds.

The same article quoted another Trump insider who said the former president even has a pet name for George P. Bush -- "My Bush" -- and has publicly referred to him as "the only Bush who got it right."

Apparently indifferent to self-respect, Bush handed out beer koozies in June featuring an image of him and Trump alongside the "got it right" quote.

On the surface, Bush's tactics were hardly mysterious: much of the Republican Party is a personality cult in service of a failed former president, and those who want to win GOP primaries, especially in red states, feel the need to beg for Trump's backing.

But just below the surface, the relevant details are striking: George P. Bush is well aware of the fact that Trump has gone after his father, his uncle, and even his own mother, but the Texan is willing to put all of that aside to advance his personal ambitions.

As The Atlantic's Adam Serwer put it, "The Republican primary for Texas attorney general is between a guy under federal investigation and a princeling of the Bush dynasty so desperate for power he would scrape and beg before a man who disrespected his mother."

This made it all the more extraordinary last night when Bush saw his efforts fail spectacularly. The former president welcomed his sycophantic tactics, but they were no match for Paxton -- who led Lawyers for Trump last year.

Let this be a lesson for other desperate Republicans, wondering how to curry favor with Trump: bending the knee, kissing the ring, and sacrificing one's dignity isn't enough.