Jeb Bush's Response To Donald Trump's "Schlonged" Comment Wasn't Much Better
Unless you've found a way to tune Donald Trump out completely (in which case, more power to you), you've probably heard by now about Trump's less-than-flattering comments about Hillary Clinton's loss to President Obama in the 2008 Democratic primaries. I wish I could say that drama was in the past, but it seems that the plot thickens. On Tuesday, Jeb Bush responded to Trump's "schlonged" comment in a statement to The Guardian — and the conversation is problematic.
Here's a refresher on Trump's comments: On Monday night, The Donald criticized Clinton at a rally by pointing to her 2008 loss. "She was favored to win, and she got schlonged," he said. Many Americans immediately rose their red flags, calling Trump's statement sexist, offensive, and inappropriate. ("Schlong," after all, is a Yiddish word for a penis.) Clinton's campaign even called the comment an insult to all women.
On Tuesday, Bush got his chance to weigh in. According to The Guardian's Sabrina Siddiqui, Bush first condemned the statement as an attempt by Trump to "create chaos," (what else is new?). Then, things took a turn for the worse when the reporter seemed to ask him how Clinton might be able to use the comment to her advantage. Siddiqui shared Bush's full response on Twitter:
The problematic part of the conversation comes in the second response that is pictured. Bush seems to imply that Clinton will use Trump's comments to paint herself as a victim because that is "what she loves doing." In reality, Clinton herself has not responded to the comment at all, and her campaign has made it clear that she won't be responding (via the same tweet that kinda-sorta did respond, but called the comment an insult to all women, not an attack that makes Clinton a victim).
Here's the thing: Clinton didn't ask to be affiliated with the derogatory term that Trump used. Like he has so many times before, Trump spoke with his rash, often-offensive voice and wound up in hot water. That's not Clinton's fault, and she should get to respond however she wants.
But there's the other reason that Bush's statement was problematic: If you read the whole screenshot shared on Twitter, it almost seems like Bush was baited into calling Clinton a victim. The reporter asked, "Does [Trumps' comment] play into [Clinton's] ability to use..." From the text in the screenshot, it looks like Bush must have interrupted at that point, but it's pretty clear where she was going with that question — it could have ended with something like, "...her ability to use the comment to her advantage?"
As a candidate for president and a member of a political dynasty, Bush should know how to avoid falling into traps with journalists. Calling Clinton a victim should probably be on some black list of things not to say, particularly to a high-profile news outlet. Either way, Bush is at least right that Trump should "lighten up, man."