Jeb Bush Returns From Hiding To Mock Donald Trump's Immigration Pivot
Donald Trump stunned supporters and detractors alike this week when he suggested that maybe he doesn't want to deport every last one of America's undocumented immigrants after all. This was a massive reversal on one of his signature policy issues. And now, one-time 2016 foe Jeb Bush is mocking Trump's immigration flip-flop as the move of a typical politician.
For the better part of the last year, Trump had taken an extremely hardline stance against immigration, pledging to establish a "deportation force" to remove all 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country if elected president. His anti-immigration views have been the primary selling point of his presidential campaign ever since he announced his bid in June 2015, and this put him at odds with Bush, whose more lenient views on immigration were a constant target of Trump's attacks during the primary.
Trump had never wavered on immigration policy until Tuesday, when he indicated that he'd be open to letting some undocumented immigrants stay in the country.
"They'll pay back taxes, they have to pay taxes, there's no amnesty, as such, there's no amnesty, but we work with them," Trump told Sean Hannity. "Now, everybody agrees we get the bad ones out. But when I go through and I meet thousands and thousands of people on this subject... they've said, 'Mr. Trump, I love you, but to take a person that has been here for 15 or 20 years and throw them and the family out, it's so tough, Mr. Trump.'"
With this flip, Trump essentially adopted Bush's stance on immigration: Penalize undocumented immigrants in some form or another, but don't deport them if they've been upstanding members of their communities. You might think that Bush would be pleased to learn of this, but he wasn't. Instead, he rejected the suggestion that Trump actually had any strong views on immigration, telling WABC Radio's Rita Cosby that "whatever his views are this morning, they might change this afternoon, and they were different than they were last night, and they'll be different tomorrow."
Then he twisted the knife.
"Sounds like a typical politician, by the way, where you get in front of one crowd and say one thing, and then say something else to another crowd that may want to hear a different view," Bush said in the interview. "All the things that Donald Trump railed against, he seems to be morphing into — it’s kind of disturbing.”
"For me, I couldn't do that," Bush continued. "Shifting my views because, because it’s political to do it? That’s what politicians do in this country, that's what Trump is trying to do right now. I find it abhorrent.”
The irony here is palpable. Here you have Bush — a former officeholder who's part of one of America's most powerful political dynasties — calling Trump, who's never held elected office, a "typical politician." Trump frequently referenced his outsider status during the primary, and used it as a cudgel against Bush and the rest of the 2016 field. Now the tables have turned. And given Trump's well-documented disdain for Bush, this attack line is almost certain to infuriate him.