The war of words between Republican presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Donald Trump escalated to a new level on Thursday morning, with the former Florida governor charging that the real estate mogul is simply “trying to insult his way to the White House.”
The criticism came in response to Trump deriding Bush for speaking Spanish on the campaign trail.
“It’s not gonna work,” Bush said on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” adding “People want an uplifting, hopeful message. People come to this country to pursue their dreams. Sometimes they start without speaking English, but they learn English and they add vitality to our, to our country and the fact that he would say you only can speak English is kind of ridiculous if you think about it.”
Trump, who’s leading in the national polls, came under fierce criticism by some Republicans and Hispanic groups alike after telling Breitbart News on Wednesday that while Bush (who speaks Spanish and whose wife is from Mexico) is a “nice man” he should “really set the example by speaking English while in the United States.”
Bush told ABC he initially laughed when he heard Trump’s remarks and that he thought it was a joke.
The back and forth is just the latest between the two Republican presidential candidates. Bush has been trying to paint Trump as a RINO—Republican In Name Only—for holding liberal views in the past, even releasing a web video earlier this week making the charge and declaring at an event in Miami that the reality show host is “el hombre no es conservador,” or “the man is not a conservative.”
Bush also took to Twitter to rail against Trump on Friday morning. “The expressed views Trump has on taxes, on health care are more closely aligned to those of Hillary Clinton,” he wrote. In another, he reiterated his claim that Trump is “trying to insult his way to the presidency.”
The former governor was asked on the morning program if he thought Trump—who has not responded to Bush’s latest interview—was out to “get him.” Bush said he believes Trump is “out to get everybody.”
According to the latest Real Clear Politics average of polling data surrounding the GOP presidential nomination, Trump is leading with 26.5% support, followed by retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson’s 12%. Bush is currently in third with 9.5% support, just ahead of Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas’ 7%.