Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has no problem standing by his statements criticizing fellow candidate Jeb Bush for speaking Spanish on the campaign trail and had little trouble defending himself.
“What’s wrong with speaking Spanish?” CNN’s chief political correspondent Dana Bash asked Trump during Wednesday’s GOP primary debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
“We have a country, where, to assimilate, you have to speak English,” he replied. “And I think that where he [Bush] was, and the way it came out didn’t sound right to me. We have to have assimilation — to have a country, we have to have assimilation.”
The real estate tycoon then reminded the moderator that this is a common viewpoint.
“I’m not the first one to say this, Dana,” he added. “We’ve had many people over the years, for many, many years, saying the same thing. This is a country where we speak English, not Spanish.”
Bush’s response tried to make light of the issue.
“Well, I’ve been speaking English here tonight, and I’ll keep speaking English,” he said.
Marco Rubio, a fellow Floridian and Spanish speaker, also weighed in and managed to get in a shot at Univision, the pro-Democrat Spanish language broadcast television network.
As only he can, Rubio shared that his grandfather, who came to America from Cuba and did not speak English, taught him — in Spanish — that he could aspire to be whatever he wants in America.
“And so, I do give interviews in Spanish, and here’s why — because I believe that free enterprise and limited government is the best way to help people who are trying to achieve upward mobility,” Rubio said.
“And if they get their news in Spanish, I want them to hear that directly from me,” he added. “Not from a translator at Univision.”
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