The war of words between Jeb Bush and Donald Trump continued to escalate Tuesday as the normally soft-spoken former Florida governor lashed out at billionaire business magnate – in both English and Spanish – for what he called personal attacks.
"He attacks me every day — he personalizes everything," Bush told Spanish-language reporters at a Miami campaign event, according to Politico. "If you’re not totally in agreement with him, you’re an ‘idiot,’ you’re ‘stupid,’ you have ‘low energy,’ blah, blah, blah.’"
Bush, who generally avoids direct confrontations with other candidate, appeared frustrated and added that Trump has turned the campaign into personal attacks against him.
"It’s all personal for him, sure — mischaracterizations of my views, longstanding views," he said. "I’ve written a book about it. If he was interested in actually knowing my views, he could read the book. 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’s comment comes as his polling numbers have fallen to single digits in Iowa and New Hampshire and as Trump continues his run at the top of the Republican field.
The choice words that Bush had for Trump also come a day after both Republican presidential candidates released dueling attack ads.
Bush’s video features quick clips of Trump calling himself "very pro-choice," praising Hillary Clinton as a "terrific woman" and saying he identifies more as a Democrat.
"What we put out was simply a simple statement in his own words. His own words. His own words. That the single-payer system is a great idea," Bush said, according to the Washington Post. "While I was campaigning for Republicans in this state and all across the country – conservative and like-minded candidates, he was supporting Hillary Clinton and thinks Hillary Clinton would be a good negotiator as it relates to our deal with Iran. This is not a guy who is a conservative. Using his own words is not a mischaracterization, it came out of his own mouth."
In Trump's video, Bush is shown saying in a 2014 interview that illegal immigration is "not a felony" but rather an "act of love." The video has pictures of three men who were in the country illegally and have been charged or convicted in killings.
The Trump campaign's short video, posted on Instagram, concludes with block letters on a black screen saying: "Forget love. It's time to get tough."
Bush’s comments to reporters came after the candidate toured La Progresiva Presbyterian School in Miami’s Little Havana and fielded questions from students about his favorite food ("Mexican"); gun violence (Americans should focus on helping the mentally ill who commit crimes); and student loan debt (he’ll unveil a plan in the next two months).
On the issue of a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, Bush said: "I believe there ought to be a path to legal status…That to me seems to be the consensus approach that would get us to solve this problem."