WASHINGTON (CNN) — Jeb Bush knows a little something about a mother’s tough love.
On Thursday, the former Florida governor praised Toya Graham, the Baltimore mother who pulled her son out of Monday’s protests outside the Mondawmin Mall, saying she has “a lot in common” with his mother, the famously direct Barbara Bush.
The video of Graham grabbing her son, Michael Singleton, and slapping him with her hand quickly went viral, and led many to commend the single mother of six for taking action to get her son away from the escalating situation.
“I admire her a lot for doing what she did,” Bush said of Graham. “That was [a] pretty nice visual symbol for what needs to be restored.”
Bush’s comments came during a question and answer session at the National Review Institute’s Ideas Summit in Washington after he was asked by moderator Rich Lowry, “What is it about your mother that makes men associated with her about 10,000 times more likely than anyone else to hold high office?”
“I can’t answer that question. It’s different. It’s unusual. I have enough self-awareness to know that it’s kind of strange,” Bush responded.
“But, on the other hand, I think if I go beyond the consideration, I’ll count on the good wisdom and directness of my mom to help me communicate directly with people. She’s pretty good at that,” he said.
Bush said that whenever he boasts about his record as governor he feels the “looming presence” of his mother telling him, “‘Don’t brag. It’s not about you.'”
“I’m almost feeling like she’s about ready to do what that woman did in Baltimore,” Bush went on, before Lowry interjected that he thought “only W got that treatment.”
“We all did,” Bush said.
Barbara Bush started out as a hard sell on her son’s potential presidential campaign.
“We’ve had enough Bushes” in the White House, she said in April 2013.
But she has since “changed her mind,” as she told a group in Florida via Skype who were attending a Jeb Bush speech supporting her foundation for family literacy this past February.