Donald Trump’s attacks on immigrants haven’t gone so far as to propose making it illegal to speak Spanish in the U.S. But in an attack on Jeb Bush during an interview with a right-wing website, Trump made it clear that he doesn’t believe U.S. Presidential candidates ought to be speaking any language other than English.
In the interview with Breitbart.com, Trump reportedly said that he likes Bush, the former governor of Florida, despite the fact that the two men have been attacking each other personally and through their surrogates for the past week.
“He’s a nice man. But he should really set the example by speaking English while in the United States.”
Bush often speaks Spanish when interacting with Latino voters – his wife is originally from Mexico, and Bush is a fluent speaker. Trump may have been referring to an offhand comment Bush made to reporters on Tuesday, in which, he said of Trump, “el hombre no es conservador.” That translates roughly as “the man is not conservative.”
Trump’s comments continued a battle of words between the real estate billionaire who has upended the Republican presidential primary campaign, and Bush, who more than anyone carries the mantle of the establishment Republicans in the race.
On Monday, Trump released a video on Instagram in which he ridiculed Bush’s much-quoted statement that sometimes illegal immigration to the U.S. is an “act of love” done to make a better life for family members.
“Forget Love, it’s time to get tough,” the Trump video proclaimed, as it interspersed pictures of illegal immigrants charged with murder with clips of Bush defending the motives of illegal immigrants.
On Tuesday, the Bush campaign released a video ad called “The Real Donald Trump” that blasted the current frontrunner in the polls for his history of taking positions other than those he advocates now – positions often associated more with Democrats than with Republicans.
Trump hit right back, with another video showing Bush praising Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton for her public service, and Bush’s older brother, President George W. Bush saying that she is like “a sister-in-law” to the Bush family.
Then, the Bush campaign went up with a Buzzfeed-like “Which Candidate Are You?” quiz meant to highlight the differences between Bush and Trump. It even went after Trump for being a “germophobe” who doesn’t like to shake hands.
The food-fight quality of the exchanges between the two candidates is setting up a potentially tense scene when the top tier of Republican candidates gather in California two weeks from now for the second GOP presidential primary debate.
If the conventions for arranging the stage remain the same, Trump will again be in the center, and Bush will have to occupy a podium right next to him. At the rate they’re going, both candidates might show up for the contest armed with rotten fruit ready for throwing.