Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush opened up Monday about his Hispanic household, how his children were taunted because of their skin color and how he was offended by Donald Trump’s comments about Mexican immigrants.
In an interview with Spanish-language news network Telemundo, the former Florida governor recalled explaining to his then-young son George, the current Texas land commissioner, about the discrimination he might face because of his darker skin tone.
"I remember one time when my son went to Ocala to play in a baseball game and the team was from Miami," Bush said, according to the Washington Post. "The majority were Hispanics – my son George has brown skin. ... At one point, I had to describe, or tell him that people like him aren’t the majority. You need to accept it, but move on. Because he was really annoyed because he and his friends -- we don't have that problem in Miami, but in other parts of the country, yes."
He added: "It was a good lesson to remember that we still don’t have a country of complete justice. You can see it in African American communities too, that there’s still discrimination. But in my life, it’s important to remember that."
The heritage of Bush’s children first drew national attention when his father, George H.W. Bush, referred to his grandchildren - George P. Bush, Noelle Bush and Jeb Bush Jr. - as "the little brown ones" while on the 1988 presidential campaign. Amid a strong backlash from Latin activists, the elder Bush defended his comments, saying: "Those grandchildren are my pride and joy, and when I say pride, I mean it."
Jeb Bush said during the Telemundo interview that his children are bilingual and bicultural and that he, along with his with Columba, have made sure to maintain the Latino influence in their household.
"We are very Hispanic, in that we speak Spanish in the house," Bush said. "Columba is a good Mexican, proud of her citizenship of this country, of course, but we eat Mexican food in the home. My children are Hispanic in many aspects. We don't talk about it, but the Hispanic influence is an important part of my life."
Bush also swooned over his wife Columbia, whom he met as a high school exchange student in Mexico.
"I was a bad kid. I wasn’t very organized, but when I saw Columba, it was a flash of lightning," he said. "In reality, from that moment on, I wanted to work, I wanted to finish my studies, I wanted to win her over."
In regards to the now infamous comments made by Bush’s fellow GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, in which he called Mexican immigrants to the United States rapists and drug dealers, Bush said he felt "hurt" by Trump’s words.
"To hear a person speak in such vulgar fashion," Bush said, according to the Miami Herald. "This makes solving this problem more difficult."
He added that "when politicians speak that way, offend millions of people who are here legally" and get in the way of fixing the problem, "it doesn't make sense."