Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush spoke Monday about the taunts his children faced due to their race and Hispanic heritage during an interview with the Spanish-language channel Telemundo. In the interview, conducted almost entirely in Spanish, Bush spoke not only of his family's experiences as Hispanic Americans but the need for immigration reform. His stand on immigration, as well as his measured tone when speaking about the contentious issue, set Bush apart from other GOP candidates, such as Donald Trump or Mike Huckabee, who have made inflammatory comments on the topic recently.
The 25-minute interview with Telemundo's Jose Diaz-Balart was one of the first times Bush had spoken about his children's race so explicitly. Bush's wife Columba was born in Mexico. He described how his son George had been teased when his Miami baseball team -- who are mostly Hispanic -- was playing an away game. Specifically making reference to his son's "brown skin," Bush described how he had to explain to his son that not everyone was like him, especially outside of Miami. "It was a good lesson to remember that we still don’t have a country of complete justice," Bush said, as reported by the Washington Post.
(When he was nominated for president in 1988, George H.W. Bush famously told President Ronald Reagan, "These are Jebby's kids from Florida, the little brown ones." Jeb's son George P. Bush is now 39 and the Texas land commissioner.)
In Spanish, Jeb Bush recounts his children were taunted for their skin tone http://t.co/dHHUWcTUso
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On immigration policy, Bush said he sought to "offer a more optimistic version than Trump’s negativeness." Responding to Trump's remark that people-smugglers from Mexico were "bringing drugs, crime, and rapists," the former Florida governor spoke of his dedication to comprehensive immigration reform and to helping Puerto Rico achieve self-determination, two issues that are important to Hispanic voters.
Bush also slapped down Huckabee's warning that Obama's nuclear deal with Iran had "opened the door to the oven for the Israelis." "That use of those type of words doesn’t help," he said. "We must have a more civil policy debate in this country."