How Jeb Bush Should Handle the Bully that is Donald Trump.
At the recent GOP debate, Jeb Bush finally tried to stand up to
Donald Trump. Trump responded, as all bullies do, but insulting the person who
challenged him. Jeb’s response was polite, but his attempt at smiling made him
look like a school boy who had mustered up the courage to challenge his bully
and was doing his best to pretend that the insults didn’t bother him.
What should Jeb! Have done instead? Well, I actually teach how
to stop bullies and Jeb’s approach was a good start but incomplete. To put a
bully in their place and to get to them to stop, you have to remove the reward
they get for being rude. For Trump, you have to not let him gain status from
putting other people down.
What I recommend to people and to kids dealing with a bully is
have something to say WHEN, not if, the bully challenges you. In this case,
because Trump is running for president, Jeb should respond with something along
the lines of – "That’s not how a president should act." Doesn’t matter
what insult Trump pulls, the response is – "that’s not how a president
should act." Or – "I personally, don’t think that’s how a president
The big problem Jeb had wasn’t what he said, it was how he said
it. He tried to challenge Jeb, but then got owned. Why? Because he looked beaten.
He smiled an awkward smile while someone was bullying him. That kind of signals
What he should have done is had an emotionally neutral expression.
And made eye contact with Trump. Look directly at him and have a stone cold
face. When Trump is done insulting him, look right at the camera and with a
stone cold expression say in a calm non-accusatory matter of fact way – that
just not how I think a president should act.
He should not engage in the substance of ANYTHING Trump says.
Just – that’s not how I think a president should act. The shear repetition of
this phrase will have the impact of dissing Trump and sowing doubt in people’s
minds while allowing Bush to appear professional and above the fray. He will
not engage while clearly engaging and will change the narrative to – what did
Trump say now to – oh my goodness – he’s so not presidential.
The most important thing for Bush to do is to practice a neutral
face. The attempt at smiling while being berated is the wrong approach. You
have to be neutral. Neutral response. You aren’t amused by Trump. You aren’t
annoyed by his attacks. It’s just a fact, he’s not acting presidential.
And that’s how you stand up to a would be presidential bully.