Andy Card: ‘Obama Recognizes the Reality of Needing Places Like a Guantanamo’
Andy Card, White House chief of staff under former President George W. Bush, said former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush would be a great president.
“It’s a personal decision, not a political decision so I don’t know and I’m not Jeb Bush, so he’ll have to make a personal decision and it’s not just him. Any one of the candidates has to make a personal decision. You cannot run for president because the corporate solution says run for president – I mean, a group of people get together, no, if you don’t have it in your makeup to do it and the discipline and the reality that it’s going to be tough, you shouldn’t do it so it’s a personal decision,” Card told PJ Media after a speech at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington.
“I hope he does everything to find out if he can make that decision so I encourage everyone to take a look at it. Yes, I think Jeb Bush would be a great president. I think he has the tools to be a good president but it comes down to what’s on the inside, not necessarily what’s on the resume.”
During his speech, Card told the story of how he ultimately became Bush’s chief of staff. According to Card, Bush asked him to visit his parents after he met with Bush’s former chief of staff in Texas, Clay Johnson.
“I thought that was a little strange but I said OK,” Card recalled. The next morning, Card flew to Houston to Bush’s parents’ home. Both George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush were campaigning and did not return until around midnight. The next morning, Card said Barbara Bush knocked on the door of his room.
“She said, ‘grab a cup of coffee and join us’ and so she went back to her bedroom,” he said.
After Card got a cup of coffee, the Bushes were lying in bed and invited him to join them in the room.
“I’m on the other side of the bed and I’m standing there and they said, ‘no, no, lay with us,’” he recalled. “Interspersed with commenting on the news, they are saying, ‘you know what it’s like, take care of our son, you understand the burdens’ and I’m thinking, whoa what is this all about? And then her husband says, ‘I’m taking my shower.’ He gets up out of bed. I get up out of bed and he turns to me and says, ‘no, stay there with Barbara.’ I’ve been to bed with the first lady. And that’s when I said something is up.”
Following his remarks, Card was asked if President Obama should continue advocating for the closure of Guantanamo Bay, given the terrorist attack in Paris and the threat of al-Qaeda and ISIS.
“The first time Guantanamo was used in a way that was a challenge to the order was under George H.W. Bush and continued in place by President Clinton and that was during the Haitian boat effort when all the Haitians were leaving and we couldn’t send the Haitians back to Haiti because the Haitians said they’d kill them. No other nation would take them. Where do we put them? There wasn’t a governor that wanted them in the United States. Where did we put them? Guantanamo, so that became a safe place to put people and give them care even if they were prisoners,” Card responded.
“It wasn’t like any country wanted them so it’s kind of like if you have a problem and there is no solution you have to find some way to accommodate a solution and Guantanamo became a solution, not an attractive one and it’s been very hard to deal with ever since but I think President Obama recognizes the reality of needing places like a Guantanamo – and that’s an unfortunate reality of the world,” he added.
Card, who whispered in Bush’s ear to inform him about the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, gave his analysis of how the U.S. government should be interpreting the recent terrorist attack in Paris.
“That the War on Terror is a reality. If people don’t want to use the rhetoric, they’re denying the reality. We have a War on Terror and it has to be conducted around the world in non-conventional ways as well as conventional ways and we have to demonstrate a united front against it, from every responsible nation in the world. If you have order in your nation, which means you have a government, you should be standing up to fight terror – whether you’re a Muslim nation or an Islamic nation or a Christian nation or a non-denominational nation or a land for the free or home of the brave, you’ve got a responsibility to stand up against these terrorists that are looking to undermine the world order, and so I think that’s what we’ve learned,” he said.
“There’s not a doubt in my mind that the terrorists feel empowered right now to introduce fear in places where fear is not welcome and I think they’ll try to hurt America. I think the Canadians have to worry about it. I think other European countries have to worry about it and I think even places like Riyadh and Jordan have to worry about it, so I think this is a scary time."