Jeb Bush: Those attacking immigration stance should ‘chill out’

By George Bennett, The Palm Beach Post, Fla.

Sept. 01– MIAMI — Jeb Bush slammed Donald Trump on Tuesday as a counterfeit conservative with unworkable immigration views and said Hillary Clinton should “chill out” after criticizing his use of the term “anchor babies.”

A day after Republican presidential front runner Trump’s campaign released a video accusing Bush of being soft on illegal immigration, Bush’s campaign fired back with an 82-second web video, an inexpensive alternative to buying TV ad time. The video features clips of Trump through the years praising Clinton, saying single-payer health care has worked in Canada and Scotland, calling for “substantially” higher taxes on upper incomes, describing himself as “very pro-choice” on abortion and saying he identifies as a Democrat on many issues.

Trump was dismissive.

“Yet another weak hit by a candidate with a failing campaign. Will Jeb sink as low in the polls as the others who have gone after me?” Trump said on his Twitter account.

Bush on Tuesday met with students at La Progresiva Presbyterian School, a largely Hispanic private school in Little Havana where a majority of students benefit from the Florida Tax Credit Scholarships that Bush initiated while he was Florida governor from 1999 to 2007.

Speaking to reporters afterward, Bush reiterated the themes in the anti-Trump video.

“While I was campaigning for Republicans in this state and all across the country — conservative, reform-minded candidates — he was supporting Hillary Clinton,” said Bush, referring to contributions Trump made to Clinton’s 2000 and 2006 New York Senate campaigns and her 2008 presidential bid.

“This is not a guy who is a conservative,” Bush said.

In Spanish, Bush accused Trump of personalizing things and calling anyone he disagrees with an “idiot” or “stupid” or lacking in energy or “blah, blah, blah.”

Trump has frequently mocked Bush as a “low-energy” candidate.

Trump’s harsh rhetoric on immigration has propelled him to the top of Republican polls while establishment favorite Bush has floundered. Trump has accusedMexico of sending rapists and other criminals to the U.S., promised a wall between the countries to be built at Mexico’s expense, called for mass deportations of people in the country illegally and challenged the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of citizenship to anyone born in the U.S.

Bush, who favors a path to legal status — but not full citizenship — for the estimated 11 million people in the country illegally, accused Trump of distorting his position on immigration.

“If he was interested in actually knowing my views he could read the book (Bush’s 2013 book “Immigration Wars”) and he would know that I’m for border security and in a practical way that won’t cost hundreds of billions of dollars like what he’s proposed,” Bush told reporters.

Bush also took heat from Clinton last month after he used the term “anchor babies” to describe children born in the U.S. to parents who are not citizens.

“I’m for birthright citizenship … it’s embedded in the 14th amendment. I don’t think we’re going to round up 11 million people and put them in camps to deport them, breaking up families. I’m for a rational approach to immigration. My record is clear,” Bush said.

Bush noted that his wife was born in Mexico and he is a longtime bilingual resident of Miami’s cultural melting pot.

“Really, for Hillary Clinton to lecture me about this, given my personal experience, the fact that I’ve lived in this beautiful community, that is a community of immigrants, the fact that I’m married to a spectacular woman that I’ve been married to for 41 years. This is like, ‘Chill out, man.’ Let’s just take a deep breath and recognize that I’ve had a consistent view on these subjects,” Bush said.


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