Just days after GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump criticized rival Jeb Bush for frequently speaking Spanish, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin picked up on the real estate mogul’s theme by saying that people should “speak American” if they live in the United States.
In a CNN interview on Sunday, Palin said she agreed with Trump’s criticism of Bush’s frequent Spanish-speaking on the campaign trail, and the billionaire’s declaration that Bush should set an example for immigrants in the United States by speaking English.
“I think that it's a benefit of Jeb Bush to be able to be so fluent in Spanish, because we have a large and wonderful Hispanic population that, you know, is helping to build America. And that's good,” Palin said on CNN's "State of the Union" when asked her opinion of Trump’s comments about Bush and language. “And that's a great relationship that he -- and connection that he has with them through his wife and through his family connections.”
“On the other hand, you know, I think we can send a message and say, ‘You want to be in America? A, you'd better be here legally or you're out of here. B, when you're here, let's speak American,” Palin said. “I mean that's what's -- let's speak English and that's a kind of a unifying aspect of the nation is the language that is understood by all.”
Trump recently hired Michael Glassner, who worked for Palin's vice presidential campaign, as his national political director.
Last week, Trump told Breitbart News that Bush should "set the example" by speaking English on the campaign trail.
"I like Jeb," Trump told Breitbart News. "He's a nice man. But he should really set the example by speaking English while in the United States."
Bush is Trump's chief Republican contender.
For his part, Bush said his first reaction was to laugh at Trump's criticism of him for speaking Spanish.
Bush dismissed Trump’s criticism last week, telling ABC's "Good Morning America" Thursday, "I laughed. I mean this is a joke."
Bush said he had been responding to a reporter's question in Spanish this week when he replied in Spanish to criticize Trump.
Bush called Trump's comments bizarre, adding that Trump is appealing to people's angst and fears rather than their higher hopes.
The former Florida governor said that Trump is trying to "insult his way to the presidency."
He added that Trump doesn't believe in the country's set of shared values like diversity and tolerance.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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