Could Columba Bush be slowly warming to the spotlight? The wife of Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has been gradually stepping up her presence on Twitter in recent days, tweeting about domestic violence, her Hispanic heritage and, of course, her husband in what could be an attempt to boost attention toward a lagging 2016 White house hopeful. She has long been famously private, avoiding public attention and even reportedly saying that her husband's political career had hurt their children.
When Jeb Bush entered the Republican presidential race in June, he was one of the best-known candidates. He led the pack of Republican candidates, including Donald Trump, who had 1 percent of voters' support. Since then, Bush has gradually dropped in polls of Republican primary voters to just 7 percent in a recent NBC-Wall Street Journal poll.
It was not clear whether, as Bush's popularity sagged, the change in his wife's tweeting habits was a deliberate attempt to help his cause. As of Sept. 30, she had tweeted 96 times using the handle @ColumbaBush. Her first tweet, May 15, called for support in preventing domestic violence and also sparked a Politico story about how her effort "showcases the bilingual Bush modern family and sends a message to the political world that his likely presidential campaign plans to take the Latino vote more seriously than another other Republican who has sought the White House."
From. Sept. 23 to Sept. 30, Columba Bush had 10 tweets or retweets, an uptick from six tweets from Sept. 15 through Sept. 22 and four from Sept. 8 through Sept. 14. In months prior, she had tweeted every few days, and occasionally twice in one day. The website listed in her profile is jeb2016.com.
One of her most popular tweets came Sept. 16, the day of the second Republican debate, in a rebuke to Donald Trump, who has become notorious for making disparaging remarks about immigrants, particularly Mexicans, and who tweeted in July, "#JebBush has to like the Mexican Illegals because of his wife." Columba Bush is Mexican.
Her tweets tend to strike a firm yet warm tone, calling attention to issues like domestic violence awareness, which she has previously advocated.
Those of us who are given a voice should use it to educate and promote issues that are near and dear to our hearts. http://t.co/c7bUx8QABa
— Columba (@ColumbaBush) September 28, 2015
Whether all of this underscores a genuine or even dramatic shift in Columba Bush's role in Jeb Bush's presidential campaign remains to be seen, and if history is any indication, it's unlikely. “She had the most limited role of any spouse I’ve ever worked with,” a strategist on Jeb Bush’s 2002 re-election campaign told the Atlantic. It's something that Columba Bush herself has declared publicly.
"I'm not a political person,"she told the Chicago Tribune in an interview in 1989. "At home, we're a common, ordinary couple."
One of her close friends, Rafael Penalver, told the Tribune: "She doesn't go for the high-society stuff."
Given her long-standing apparent aversion to the limelight and to politics, even a slight increase in tweeting in recent days has attracted attention.
Privileged to meet @ICADV leaders while in IA with Jeb this weekend. Join me in supporting Domestic Violence prevention. Call 1-800-933-0333
— Columba (@ColumbaBush) May 15, 2015
Her most recent tweet, as of 4 p.m. ET Wednesday, was a request for fundraising:
— Columba (@ColumbaBush) September 30, 2015