Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush went to McAllen, Texas today and defended his stand on immigration. He took off the gloves and took a jab at Hillary Clinton and threw a few punches at the GOP front runner, Donald Trump. But, the former Florida governor found himself in another mess by making remarks that angered some Asian Americans in the process.
Bush went to the Mexican border today, partly in response to criticism from Donald trump that he is “weak” on illegal immigration and he had not been to the border. Firing back, Bush called Trump’s immigration plan “unrealistic,” described his policies as un-Republican and recommended that Trump read Bush’s book “Immigration Wars” to acquaint himself with a practical solution. “He needs to be held to account for his views,” Bush told reporters at a restaurant near the border.
The former governor assailed Trump’s plan to deport millions of immigrants in the country illegally and erect a giant wall at the Mexican border. “The simple fact is his proposal is unrealistic,” Bush told reporters. “It would cost hundreds of billions of dollars. It would violate people’s civil liberties. It would create friction with our third-largest trade partner that’s not necessary.” Speaking in Spanish, Bush said “I am happily married with a Mexican-American. My kids are Hispanic. The experience of immigration(sic), no one is going to give me a lecture on this.”
In a phone interview with the New York Times Monday, Trump laughed at the suggestion that he read. Bush’s book on immigration. “That would be exciting,” he said dryly. “Bush has definitely seen what is happening to his campaign. It’s starting to crumble,” Mr. Trump added.
In McAllen, Bush defended his use of the term “anchor babies” in Iowa last week. Bush was being questioned about Trump’s immigration plan and was asked if he thought the term “anchor babies” was offensive to Latinos. He responded, “No.” Immediately Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton blasted Bush for his statement.
Bush held a news conference in Texas today and said that he’s been “immersed in the immigrant experience” personally— his wife is from Mexico— and said it’s “ludicrous” for Democrats and Hillary Clinton to say he was using the word in a derogatory fashion. “I support the 14th amendment,” Bush asserted. Instead of stopping there, he went on to further clarify his remarks and stirred up a new controversy. “He said that the term was “more related to Asian people.
“What I was talking about.” Bush said, “was the specific case of fraud being committed where there’s organized efforts and, frankly, it’s more related to Asian people coming into our country, having children in that organized efforts taking advantage of a noble concept which is birthright citizenship.,” he said.
Immediately, Asian Americans blasted Bush over this new “anchor babies” remark. Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii called on Bush to “immediately retract his statements and apologize to the Asian community for his insensitive behavior.” Bush’s comments “regarding the children of Asian immigrants are derogatory and offensive,” Schatz said in a statement.
American Bridge and Correct the Record, pro-Hillary groups, were quick to pounce on his choice of words regarding “Asian people.” They called Bush insensitive at a time when the Republican Party is trying to broaden its base and become more inclusive. Other Democrats joined the chorus later in the day Monday.
Unfortunately, it was two steps forward and two steps back for Jeb Bush whose campaign has so far failed to amaze. Trump has sucked all the energy and oxygen out of the campaign in the Republican side. Today was supposed to be the first day of a new Bush campaign strategy to take Donald Trump on blow for blow. Unfortunately, Jeb continues to blunder. Perhaps it is just because he is rusty. Or, perhaps he is just a bad candidate. Watch this space.