Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus is confident the Cleveland RNC will be a success, even without a Bush in attendance.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former presidents George W. and George H.W. Bush all declined to participate or attend the 2016 nominating convention. Meet the Press host Chuck Todd offered the decision of the Bush family to spurn the 2016 convention as evidence that this year’s event will be a little different.
"You’re not showcasing the best parts of your party," Todd said to Priebus, adding "it is unusual not to have a Bush at the convention."
Priebus responded: "It didn’t happen four years ago" at the 2012 RNC in Tampa. Priebus added after some back-and-forth that that "there was no President Bush" at the RNC in 2008.
Claims about the pre-eminence of the Bush family in Republican politics have come up before. We previously rated True a claim that Republicans haven’t won an election without a Bush or Nixon since 1928.
In this case we wondered if Priebus was right that the Bush family eschewed the RNC in some form in 2012 and 2008.
The 2012 convention
It’s been nearly eight years since a Bush has held national elected office, but the family has maintained a role at the nominating convention. Since 1980, every Republican convention has seen a Bush speak — often as the vice presidential or presidential nominee.
That includes the 2012 convention in Tampa, which saw the nomination of Mitt Romney.
Jeb Bush addressed delegates at the convention, as this video confirms. He touted his love for his brother, criticized President Barack Obama’s record and discussed children and education.
"If we want to continue to be the greatest nation on the planet, we must give our kids what we promised them — an equal opportunity," he said. "That starts in the classroom. It starts in our communities. It starts where you live and it starts with nominating Mitt Romney the next president of the United States."
2000, 2004 and 2008
Priebus also contended in his interview with Todd that there was no "President Bush" at the 2008 RNC in St. Paul, Minn.
That’s not entirely correct, either. President George W. Bush addressed convention delegates live from the White House. Bush told convention delegates that he remained in Washington to oversee recovery efforts related to Hurricane Gustav.
Bush, however, praised GOP nominee Arizona Sen. John McCain.
"He is ready to lead this nation," Bush said. "From the day of his commissioning John McCain was a respected Naval officer who made decisions on which the lives of others depended."
First Lady Laura Bush spoke live from the convention, which also included appearances by former President George H.W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush, video from the event shows.
1980, 1984, 1988, 1992 and 1996
The list goes on.
Former president George H.W. Bush spoke at the 1996 convention in San Diego, Calif., which eventually nominated former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole.
The earliest convention we could find without a Bush speaking was in 1976, where Gerald Ford was selected as the Republican nominee.
To recap, that’s at least 40 years and nine conventions where a Bush had a speaking role. And members of the Bush family definitely spoke at both the 2012 and 2008 conventions.
Priebus said it’s not a big deal a Bush isn’t attending the 2016 convention, because a Bush didn’t speak in 2012 and "there was no President Bush" at the 2008 convention.
He’s wrong. Jeb Bush addressed delegates at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa. In 2008, George W. Bush addressed delegates via a live video feed, but former President George H.W. Bush and former first ladies Laura and Barbara Bush all attended.
A Bush has spoken at every RNC since at least 1980, we found.
We rate this claim False.