No one, it seems, is more perplexed than the family patriarch by the race, and by what the Republican Party has become in its embrace of anti-establishment outsiders, especially the sometimes rude Mr. Trump.
In July, even after breaking a vertebra in a fall that left him hospitalized in Maine, the elder Mr. Bush was fuming at the news of the day: Mr. Trump had belittled Sen. John McCain of Arizona for being taken prisoner in Vietnam.
“I can’t understand how somebody could say that and still be taken seriously,” said Mr. Bush, himself a naval aviator in World War II, according to his longtime spokesman, Jim McGrath, who had visited him…
Contempt for Mr. Trump runs deep in the clan. Two people interviewed, who are in direct communication with the elder Mr. Bush but requested anonymity to avoid betraying a confidence, said Mr. Trump had revived painful memories among the Bushes of another blunt populist: H. Ross Perot. The family has long believed Mr. Perot’s third-party candidacy helped Bill Clinton capture the White House from Mr. Bush in 1992.