On Thursday, ABC News reported that two GOP candidates — Donald Trump, the current front-runner, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush — have used the term “anchor babies,” a phrase that refers to children born to parents in the country illegally. Both candidates, ABC said, are not backing down from the term, which has many on the left in an uproar. On Thursday, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said he’s “happy to use” the term.
“You give me a better term and I’ll use it,” Bush said when asked if he regretted using it. Trump made a similar statement in a testy exchange with a reporter at a press conference in Derry, New Hampshire.
“You said that you have a big heart, and that you’re not mean-spirited,” a reporter said. “Are you aware that the term ‘anchor baby,’ that’s an offensive term? People find that hurtful.”
“You mean it’s not politically correct, and yet everybody uses it?” Trump said in response. “You know what? Give me a different term.” The reporter suggested he use the phrase, “the American-born childs [sic] of undocumented immigrants.” Trump, however, didn’t bite and told the reporter he would “use the word ‘anchor baby.’”
Predictably, left-wing outlets responded, parroting talking points from the Clinton campaign. A post at PoliticsUSA, for example, called the term a “slur” and posted a statement from Hillary For America Latino Outreach Director Lorella Praeli.
“During a press conference today, Jeb Bush tried to outdo Donald Trump and other Republican presidential candidates by doubling down on the hateful term ‘anchor baby’ when referring to the U.S. born children of immigrants,” Praeli said. “It’s a disgrace to see these candidates attack a group of American citizens who not only have the same rights as everybody else in this country but also represent the very values this country was built on.”
“If Republicans continue to wonder how to label these children, Hillary has already made it clear to them: They are not ‘anchor babies.’ They are babies,” she added. “They are our neighbors. They are our families. They are part of our communities. They are American citizens. Period.”
The reliably left-wing New Republic weighed in, calling the term “an offensive, derogatory slur” that is “largely a myth.” The New York Times also referred to the term as “offensive.” According to Alan Rappeport, the term is “as offensive as the word ‘illegals’ for many immigrants who come to America.”
How offensive is the term to the Times? Newsbusters’ Clay Waters said the paper discouraged the use of the phrase after the American Heritage Dictionary labeled it “offensive” due to pressure from advocacy groups.
But it seems that the term was not always so offensive to those on the left now engaged in breathless pearl-clutching. In 2010, Newsweek referred to Barack Obama as an anchor baby, suggesting the president’s father was in the country illegally at the time. Newsweek published the graphic just a few months before calling Obama “god of all things.”
Obama was listed along with Henry Ford, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, Colin Powell and the late Leonard Nimoy, among several other notable figures. At the time, no one scolded Newsweek for using the term.