Jeb Bush embarks on Europe trip ahead of campaign launch

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from MSNBC,

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is off to Europe this week, where he’ll visit leaders in Germany, Poland, and Estonia before returning to the United States to announce his presidential campaign on June 15 in Miami.

Bush will open the trip on Tuesday in Berlin with a speech at an economic conference hosted by the ruling Christian Democratic Union. The party’s fiscal conservatism under German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is also speaking at the conference, lines up with Bush’s views and the event will give him a chance to tout his vision for a “right to rise” economy.

Wading into more sensitive foreign policy issues, Bush will urge European leaders to defend Ukraine from Russian interference, according to excerpts released by his staff.

“Seventy years after America and Western Europe began to build the post-war architecture of security, that alliance is as relevant as the day it was founded,” Bush is expected to say. “Who will say otherwise, as we watch the fate of Ukraine, slowly unfold in tragedy? Ukraine, a sovereign European nation, must be permitted to choose its own path.”

The trip gives Bush, who has less direct experience in foreign policy compared to his 2016 primary rivals who serve in the Senate, a chance to demonstrate he does have expertise in the field. In recent weeks, he’s sought to push back against the notion he’s less versed in the world, pointing to 15 international trade missions he took as governor and, per his aides’ count, 89 visits to 22 countries since leaving office.

It’s not without risk, however – a number of presidential contenders have run into trouble during similar foreign visits.

Most dramatically, Mitt Romney’s world tour in the summer of 2012 turned into a debacle after the then-Republican nominee offended British leaders by questioning preparations for the London Olympics and angered Palestinians by implying that Israel’s economy demonstrated the Jewish state’s cultural superiority over the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

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