- Too bad Jesse never took the plunge. As the Reform Party Governor of Minnesota he was a hot political property in the early 2000s. Certainly he would have been head and shoulders better than that fool Bush.
(Politico) - Former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura said Thursday he was "astounded" that Jeb Bush's campaign would deny a decades-old gift of Cuban cigars.
The controversy centers on a box of Romeo y Julieta cigars Bush gave Ventura after a meeting of governors at the White House, where Ventura complained to then-president Bill Clinton about the “ridiculous” Cuban embargo and how it should be lifted.
Ventura, who recounted the story Wednesday on his Ora.TV “Off the Grid” show, said the gift was ironic, since Bush supported the embargo.
Bush’s presidential campaign denied the claim, saying the cigars weren’t from Cuba.
“The cigars were Dominican,” Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campell told POLITICO, echoing comments the campaign made to McClatchy, which first reported the story.
Ventura told POLITICO that Bush’s campaign isn’t being honest.
“What happened to the truth?” Ventura said in a phone interview. “They’re trying to say that he sent me a box of Dominicans? I’m astounded by that. Why would they send me a box of Dominican cigars when I could go buy them in any cigar shop?”
Ventura, echoing comments on his show, said the gift — and now the denial — speak to problems with Bush’s campaign.
“Come on. You’re even going to cover this up? You’re going to deny a box of cigars, like what: that’s going to determine the election? It’s a simple and true story,” Ventura said. “I guess the point that I’m making is elites live by a different set of rules than all the rest of us because they can get Cuban cigars, clearly, when the rest of us can’t.”
Ventura, who no longer smokes cigars, indicated the issue had personal salience because he once had U.S. Customs agents take two Cuban cigars from him as he reentered the United States from Canada. He said he wanted to give the cigars to his dad.
Ventura told the story about Bush’s gift during an interview with consultant and political operative Roger Stone, who recently departed Donald Trump’s campaign in a dispute over messaging. Ventura has had a decades-long relationship with Trump. One of the early professional wrestling “Wrestlemanias” was held at the Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, where Ventura wrestled as “Jesse The Body Ventura.” He said Trump told him that Wrestlemania tickets sold out the venue faster than boxing events.
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|You know, I could get behind that ticket.|