Former governor of Florida expected to officially kick off run for president on June 15.
World affairs are constants in Jeb Bush’s life.
He met his wife while a teenager studying in Mexico, majored in Latin American affairs in college and lived in Venezuela as a young businessman. He speaks fluent Spanish.
He had a front-row seat to the presidencies of his brother and his father.
Bush, 62, spent the bulk of his adult life in south Florida, one of the most multicultural places in the nation. As governor of Florida, he led more than a dozen international missions, and he has visited 29 countries since then.
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Yet Bush still feels compelled to embark on a modern-day rite-of-passage for presidential candidates — an overseas tour to showcase his statesmanship and burnish his foreign-policy credentials. This week, he will visit Germany, Poland and Estonia before officially kicking off his White House bid on June 15.
The trip is a nod to the dominant role foreign policy is expected to play in the 2016 presidential campaign — one of Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton’s top credentials is her tenure as the nation’s top diplomat.
Bush will spend much of his five-day trip meeting privately with government, business and civic leaders in Berlin, Warsaw and Tallinn, Estonia, about the economy, trans-Atlantic relations and security.
The former governor is expected to be asked about Russian aggression in Ukraine, and whether the United States has been a strong enough ally in the region. NATO, of which the United States is a member, is being urged to more forcefully confront Russian President Vladimir Putin by stationing troops in Poland and the Baltic nations.
He could face questions about the CIA torture report, made public in 2014, that confirmed the existence of a secret interrogation site in Poland during his brother’s administration, and Obama’s decision to scale back George W. Bush-era plans for a missile-defense site in Poland.