Athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush to Voters: ‘Go for the Johnson.’

'If you can't stand the nut on the left, and you can't stand the nut on the right....'

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Screenshot via CNBC

When Athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush went on CNBC today to make the case that Massachusetts voters should look to the Libertarian ticket in November, he appears to have gone below the belt.

Here’s what the Watertown technology firm’s executive (who is also George W. Bush’s cousin) had to say about the choice between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump: “If you can’t stand the nut on the left, and you can’t stand the nut on the right, go for the Johnson.”

He was, of course, referring to Gary Johnson, the third-party candidate whose running mate is former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld.

In a video posted to Twitter, chuckles can be heard emanating off camera at the election season innuendo.

In the clip, Bush goes on to argue for why voters in Massachusetts, where a third-party vote will “make no difference anyway,” can take a stand and not cast their ballot for someone who doesn’t represent their values. “We’re all doing a lot of deals with the devil, that we sort of have to bathe with a wire brush the next day over, and we don’t have to do that,” he says.

Reached on Twitter, Bush directed questions to his company’s media email address. A request to clarify his comments was not immediately returned.

Bush, who made it onto Boston‘s list of the city’s 50 most influential people last year for his work leading the successful health care technology firm, has a reputation for speaking his mind. He has emerged as a prominent critic of the state of the health care system, which is “the biggest hole in our humanity,” he has said.

Bush also broke ranks this year with many in the health care community by endorsing and donating to the effort to legalize marijuana in Massachusetts.

A former supporter of his cousin Jeb’s campaign for the Republican nomination, Bush has blasted Donald Trump, telling state Republicans in a speech this year that the party needs to address “hateful frustration” in its ranks. In an interview with the Globe about his speech back in June, he said that, despite his family ties, he didn’t necessarily have political aspirations. “We need another Bush like I need a hole in my head,” he said at the time.