The establishment wanted a sweet ’16, not a 17-candidate pileup. Here’s what happened.
Jeb Bush, the man who would be frontrunner, was as surprised as anybody when Donald Trump jumped into the 2016 presidential race in June. His instinctive first reaction was to hold his tongue, and his advisers agreed the best option was to keep his distance from an interloper who wanted to drag him into a reality-show shouting match.
Bush stayed strategically silent even when Trump delivered his infamous crack that some Mexican immigrants were “rapists.” It wasn’t easy, considering Bush speaks nearly flawless Spanish, backs comprehensive immigration reform and is married to the former Columba Garnica de Gallo of Leon, Mexico.
Like everyone else, Bush soon found Trump impossible to ignore. When Trump reposted a nasty tweet a couple of weeks after his contentious announcement speech— “Bush has to like Mexican illegals because of his wife”—the former Florida governor was forced to respond. “You can love your Mexican-American wife,” he told one interviewer before telling another that Trump was “preying on people’s fears.”
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