“I like Jeb,” Trump said in an interview with Breitabart News. “He’s a nice man. But he should really set the example by speaking English while in the United States.”
With that, Trump may have sparked yet another debate about whether or not to make English the official language of the United States. There is no official U.S. language, but lawmakers in both parties have tried in vain to make English official for years.
Trump's comments came after Bush attacked his rival in English and Spanish Tuesday. Bush's wife, Columba, was born in Mexico and they predominantly speak Spanish in their Miami home.
"He attacks me every day. He attacks me every day with barbarities," Bush said in Spanish, using a word that loosely translated means "harsh insults."
"He’s not conservative. He doesn’t have a career that you could say is conservative," Bush said later in Spanish. "And beyond that, he personalizes everything. If you’re not totally in agreement with him, you’re an idiot, or stupid, or you don’t have energy or 'blah blah blah.' That’s what he does. That doesn’t work -- there are millions of people who today are thinking that their future isn't the way it should be."
In his Breitbart interview, Trump defended his Republican credentials: “You know, Ronald Reagan wasn’t a conservative. He became a great conservative. By the time I’m finished, people will say I’m a great conservative. By the time I’m finished with the presidency, after eight years of the presidency, people will say I’m a great conservative—far greater than Jeb would ever have the ability to be.”
In response, top Bush campaign aides fired back, suggesting that Trump's comments about English put him on a "one man mission" to kill the Republican Party:
Bush has said that English-language proficiency would be a requirement of his comprehensive plan to provide a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants. Campaigning in Puerto Rico in April, he urged island residents to learn English in order to enjoy greater economic opportunities -- but he did not endorse making English the official language.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), another bilingual GOP presidential candidate, has also said that English-language requirements should be strengthened.
A Bush aide pointed out that Trump's political stance appears to clash with his business priorities. According to a job posting for a Trump hotel in Miami, applicants for an overnight manager position are told: "Bi-lingual English/Spanish desired."
At his property in Doral, Fla., a job positing for a catering position says that "Applicants with additional language skills preferred."