“El hombre no es conservador,” Jeb Bush told Miami reporters the other day.
The man is not conservative. He was speaking about Donald Trump. It’s not that Jeb! has given up campaigning “joyfully. It’s that every day Trump attacks him with barbaridades,” Bush explained. Barbaridades are very, very bad insults.
Speaking in Spanish, Bush noted that one of his “nueras”—daughters-in-law— is Iraqi-Canadian. So does he also speak in Arabic or Canadian when addressing the relevant audiences? Oh, and his favorite food is “Mexican,” in case you were wondering.
But the senior high school students in the audience wanted to know if Bush was a hombre who’d not only talk the talk, but also walk the walk. Will a Bush government secure financial aid for students in the country illegally, one of them asked. Bush’s non-answer was in lingo politico, which means no one knows what he really said.
What about his use of the term “anchor babies,” Bush was asked. Showing some backbone, Bush pushed back with “C’mon,” it being difficult to translate idioms no matter how well you speak a language.
Whether or not Trump can habla español, he thinks that in America folks should speak English. Does that mean he has written off the Hispanic vote? I wouldn’t count on it. For on the very day that Jeb! was in Miami, Trump was meeting privately with Javier Palomarez, the CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, a group that is boycotting Trump’s hotels. They met at Trump’s NYC offices, where for over an hour they spoke mano a mano. Spokesmen for both parties said that, among other issues, they’d discussed Latino voters, the economy, and illegal immigration.
Like many others, Palomarez “found the private Donald to be quite different than the public Donald…. [He] was very elegant, very gracious and very hospitable.” Most important, I think, is that Trump “listened a lot more than he spoke.” How many politicians can really listen?
In the end, while not endorsing Trump, Palomarez said that he was “very happy with the way the conversation went.”
Trump will be attending a Q&A presidential forum, as have Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders. Trump’s charming and persuasive, and he’s going to be courting the Hispanic vote. Will he be able to close this deal? I don’t have the answer. But consider this. No one wants to hitch his wagon to a weak candidate, and so far Bush has shown himself to be weak. El conservador no es un hombre.