The Washington Post has a scoop.
According to DC’s newpaper of record, which has tasked itself with the unenviable job of rooting out the most dangerous threats to our nation and the most pressing news in politics, Jeb Bush’s wife Columba, who is so mild-mannered she barely makes media waves even when accompanying her husband on the campaign trail, has a jewelry problem.
In that she likes it.
And also buys it.
And then wears it.
Granted, she likes and buys and wears some expensive baubles. Her tastes run towards the exclusive European label Bulgari, among other luxury brands, and she’s well known for dropping tens of thousands at once (although rarely), for sparkly pieces, often, according to the story, outside of the supervision of her husband. Now, you might say, let she who has not bought herself something nice and failed to mention the cost cast the first stone. But if you’re the Washington Post, well, darling, fetch the smelling salts and the chaise lounge, because you’re about to get an attack of the vapors.
In 1999, Columba Bush, the famously private wife of then-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, was detained and fined by federal customs officials for misrepresenting the amount of clothing and jewelry she had bought while on a solo five-day shopping spree in Paris.
The incident left the Florida first lady deeply mortified and her husband politically chagrined. Jeb Bush said the first lady had misled customs officials because she did not want him to know that she had spent about $19,000 on the trip.
“The embarrassment I felt made me ashamed to face my family and friends,” Columba Bush said in a July 1999 speech to the Central Florida Make-a-Wish Foundation, not long after the incident. “It was the worst feeling I’ve ever had in my life.”
The ordeal did not stop her from spending freely, however. Less than a year later, she took out a loan to buy $42,311.70 worth of jewelry on a single day, according to records filed with the state of Florida by Mayors Jewelers.
That purchase was part of a pattern by Columba Bush of borrowing to buy tens of thousands of dollars of jewelry at a time from the South Florida store over a 14-year period. Documentation available online, which does not include the details of two transactions made less than six weeks apart in 1995, shows that she spent a total of more than $90,000 at the store.
Did you read that right? It was part of a pattern. Never mind that it seems she merely preferred payment plans to plopping down loads of cash upfront for her jewelry like a common street thug. Never mind that a good piece of jewelry – a single piece of jewelry – can run into the tens of thousands. Never mind that, being a member of the Bush family, she could certainly afford to have a few nice diamond necklaces or a few great tennis bracelets lying around (the family is worth millions, and that’s a low estimate). Never mind that her purchases were over the span of 19 years, which likely means she developed a relationship with a particular jeweler. The poor lady likes jewelry, but according to the Post, this is almost akin to running a meth lab out of the basement of the Florida governor’s mansion (which, honestly, knowing Florida, is definitely a possibility).
According to the Post, Jeb’s wife’s jewelry “habit,” is going to present a problem when he tries to convince Americans that he’s a man of the people, already a tough job considering his last name is Bush and like most politicians, is filthy rich. Hillary Clinton, a Clinton who demands private jets and six-figure speaking fees will, of course, face the same problem. Granted, Hillary Clinton is a Democrat, so her faux compassion, which entails taking money from people by force through taxation and giving it to bloated bureaucratic organizations whose mission statements puport to help the downtrodden, counts as “caring” about the fate of the little people, so she gets a pass, but in the end, isn’t nearly everyone who serves in Congress rolling in dough? Nancy Pelosi doesn’t wear red polyester suits from the Macy’s clearance rack. Those two-piece marvels of tailoring are Armani. Michelle Obama, whose wardrobe I’ve long been counting the cost of, frequently sports $8,000 Burberry raincoats, $12,000 gowns, $3000 cardigan sweaters, and grossly overpriced vacation wardrobes. The suit Michelle Obama wore to the most recent State of the Union alone could feed a family of six for weeks. Whether she pays for her duds or uses a credit provided by the taxpayer, it’s difficult to say that Michelle has ever scrimped and saved on her sartorial choices whe she wasn’t required to.
But, apparently, call enough pointless hashtag initiatives “activism” and you can sport $500 sneakers to a soup kitchen and everyone still thinks you care about the poor.
Granted, there’s a lot not to like about the Bushes, starting with the name, the education policy, the sense of entitlement, the list could go on and on. But I hardly think an account at a jewelry store is much to get my panties in a bunch over. Unless, of course, the jewelry is ugly and Mrs. Bush got taken for a ride. In that case, I might question the entire family’s commitment to fiscal responsibility.
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