In the Washington Post, Greg Sargent writes:
This morning on ABC News, Jeb Bush unleashed what may be his most full-throated response yet to the rise of Donald Trump. The quote that will drive the headlines is that Bush said Trump wants to “insult his way to the presidency.”
But that’s not the most important part of Bush’s remarkable monologue. The more significant part of it was the challenge it represents to GOP primary voters.
To recap, Trump had mocked Bush for speaking in Spanish, claiming that he “should really set the example by speaking English while in the United States.” Apparently it’s self-evidently ludicrous for a Republican presidential candidate to try to appeal to Latino voters by speaking their language. Bush’s response is worth quoting at length:
“Donald Trump is trying to insult his way to the presidency. It’s not gonna work. People want an uplifting, hopeful message. People come to this country to pursue their dreams. Sometimes they start without speaking English. But they learn English. And they add vitality to our country.
“To say you can only speak English is kind of ridiculous, if you think about it….This is a diverse country. We should celebrate that diversity and embrace a set of shared values. Mr. Trump doesn’t believe in those shared values. He wants to tear us down. He doesn’t believe in tolerance. He doesn’t believe in the things that have created the greatness of this country.”
What this shows, I think, is that Jeb Bush’s claim last year that illegal immigration is an “act of love” continues to be a seminal moment that perfectly captured the split among Republicans over the issue.
Jeb assures us:
Sometimes they start without speaking English. But they learn English.
Okay, but has Columba Bush learned to speak English yet? Has the Presidential candidate’s wife learned English well enough in her 40 years of marriage to be interviewed in English without pre-arranged questions?
I, personally, have never found video of the former First Lady of Florida being interviewed in English. I have found video of her uncomfortably reading a two-minute speech in English. But that’s all I’ve found so far.
It’s often said of Columba in the media that she’s a very shy person, and that’s why she avoids giving interviews in English. Yet, I’ve found video of her being charming in a Spanish-language interview. I’ve found video of her giving a speech on national television on the floor of the Republican National Convention … in Spanish. I’ve found video of her doing a TV commercial with her father-in-law, with her speaking Spanish.
I would hope she’s learned English well enough to converse in it in her 40+ years of marriage to Jeb. But I just don’t have evidence of that yet.
UPDATE: After a couple of months of asking, one commenter and one emailer, who might represent the same person or two separate sources, write to say they have conversed with Columba in English.
The most fundamental issue in politics is “Whose side are you on?” Jeb, who is not a particularly slippery individual, has given us much evidence that primarily he’s on the side of Mexicans, not Americans.
That strikes me as an honorable position, just not one I’d want in my President.
Look, Jeb has been reasonably straightforward about the fact that, emotionally, he prefers Mexicans to Americans. If we Americans are too dumb to figure out the implications of what’s Jeb’s been repeatedly hinting at, well, I guess we deserve what we have coming from a third Bush Administration.
You won’t be able to say Jeb didn’t warn us.