The wife of Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush penned an editorial Monday in which she praised her "multicultural family" -- a sentiment that may have seemed to contradict her husband's comments on the issue last week. Writing for Fox News Latino in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Columba Bush said she was proud to celebrate her heritage in the United States, where "the love of faith, family, friends and food are the cornerstones of the many cultures represented in this diverse country."
But former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush expressed a different opinion last week. Speaking in Iowa, Bush responded to a question from a woman who asked how he would blend refugees and immigrants into American society. Bush said multiculturalism was the wrong approach, CNN reported. "America is so much better than every other country because of the values that people share -- it defines our national identity. Not race or ethnicity, not where you come from," he said. "When you create pockets of isolation -- and in some cases the assimilation process is retarded because it's slowed down -- it's wrong. It limits peoples' aspirations."
Bush has made a habit on the campaign trail of telling the story of how he met his wife. He was on a trip to Mexico in 1971 when he saw her and fell in love at first sight. He learned Spanish, and she immigrated to the United States. Years later, Jeb Bush now often refers to his children as "bilingual and bicultural."
Columba Bush's editorial appeared to align with that theme but not necessarily his statements from last week. She encouraged everyone to partake in activity that helps them learn about Hispanic culture, like reading books about Hispanic leaders or cooking a Latin-influenced meal. Hispanic Heritage Month runs through Oct. 15.
"I love that as a multicultural family, we get to celebrate and enjoy all that America offers us," the candidate's wife wrote. "Most importantly, I am proud to be a citizen of the United States, a country that is comprised by so many who come from around the globe to join us as we stand as one nation under God. It is truly an exceptional nation that embraces and cherishes each and every culture."
The Washington Post speculated Jeb Bush's stance Tuesday was based on a literal definition of the word "multiculturalism," which refers to the existence of various cultures in one larger society. More specifically, he backs assimilation, where one group gradually joins another culture. Bush elaborated last week at a different event, saying, "What matters is that we embrace a set of shared values and that we have a right-to-rise society."