— -- If this was a friendly feud before, Republican candidates Donald Trump and Jeb Bush have now fully entered the proverbial boxing ring and neither are pulling any punches.
These are the ad wars; Trump released an ad mocking Bush's comments that illegal immigration is an "act of love." And today, Bush fired back in what could be the most effective attack against Trump -- Trump, himself.
Released on the @JebBush twitter account, the video, entitled “The Real Donald Trump”, is almost entirely comprised of old interview clips that Trump participated in.
It begins with Trump speaking these words (from 1999),"I lived in New York City, in Manhattan all my life so my views are a little different than if I lived in Iowa.”
You then hear Trump say “I am very pro-choice” and proclaim that he thinks Hillary Clinton would do a good job in Iran negotiations. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asks if he identifies more as a Democrat or a Republican. Trump responds, “you'd be shocked if I said that, in many cases, I probably identify more as a democrat.”
And then the kicker -- an unidentified questioner asks why he’s a Republican to which Trump responds, “I have no idea."
It is the most pointed attack we’ve heard from the Bush team thus far. In the past, when faced with attack, Bush would respond with a measured line, saying that Trump “doesn’t have a proven conservative record.”
Bush acknowledged today that the war of words had intensified, during an availability with reporters after a town hall at a Miami high school.
"They attack me every day, every day with barbarities that are not true," Bush said in Spanish, later adding in English that the ad wasn't a mischaracterization. "Using his own words is not a mischaracterization, it came out of his own mouth."
Meanwhile, Trump has gone for the jugular from the very beginning. In his most recent attack, he used Bush’s claim that illegal immigration can be “an act of love” against him. The video, accompanied by macabre music, features Bush saying that line, as photos of people who came into the country illegally are played. One was charged with murder, another convicted of it.
One of the men mentioned in the video, Francisco Sanchez, was charged with murder in California and has pleaded not guilty.
Another man, Santana Gaona, had been convicted of murder in Texas and was sentenced to 50 years, according to court records.
And a third, Brian Hyde Omar, was charged in Florida with three counts of second-degree murder. Police say he was here illegally, though U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has yet to confirm that.
Another video, instagrammed by Trump today, shows Bush introducing Hillary Clinton at an event as "someone who has dedicated her life to public service."
Hillary Clinton agrees.
It is yet another series in the long saga between Trump, the current frontrunner, and Bush, the one who everyone thought would be.
Today, Trump, as always well-aware of his frontrunner status, issued a warning to his rival.