— -- As the immigration battle among presidential candidates heats up, the attacks are getting personal.
Donald Trump retweeted an offensive comment about Jeb Bush’s wife, Columba, who came to this country legally from Mexico.
"@RobHeilbron: @realDonaldTrump #JebBush has to like the Mexican Illegals because of his wife."
That tweet was later deleted, but still able to be seen on the cached version of the page.
A press aide for the Bush campaign responded by saying, “It’s not surprising Donald Trump deleted his offensive tweet. As Governor Bush has said, Trump’s comments on immigrants were wholly inappropriate and not reflective of the Republican Party’s views."
The issue surged into the news cycle last week after a woman was killed in San Francisco by a man who was an undocumented immigrant. Francisco Sanchez, a convicted felon, had been deported five times, according to U.S. immigration officials and questions still abound over how we was able to roam free.
Francisco Sanchez said in an exclusive jailhouse interview with ABC station KGO-TV in San Francisco that he was wandering on Pier 14 after taking sleeping pills he found in a dumpster.
He told KGO-TV that he saw a T-shirt and when he picked it up there was a gun was wrapped in it, and it went off.
"Then suddenly I heard that boom boom, three times," Sanchez said.
He said he knew San Francisco was a sanctuary city where he would not be pursued by immigration officials.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had said in a statement that Sanchez was turned over to the San Francisco Police Department this past March on an outstanding drug warrant and that the department requested that police notify ICE prior to his release so ICE officers could make arrangements to take custody.
Trump used the issue as a springboard to disseminate his own views on immigration, calling for a wall along the border and increased border security.
Today, he released a lengthy statement that reiterated his views on Mexican immigrants.
“…Just this week when, as an example, a young woman in San Francisco was viciously killed by a 5 time deported Mexican with a long criminal record, who was forced back into the United States because they didn’t want him in Mexico. This is merely one of thousands of similar incidents throughout the United States. In other words, the worst elements in Mexico are being pushed into the United States by the Mexican government,” Trump said.
There is no evidence that the Mexican government shipped Sanchez back to the United States. By his own account, Sanchez came back to the United States himself looking for jobs. And data show that new immigrants, including those who are undocumented, are less likely to commit crime than native born Americans.
This all comes in the wake of his controversial remarks over Hispanic immigrants, saying, “When Mexico sends its people. ... They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
Over the July 4th weekend, Bush responded to Trump’s comments, saying his comments stuck a chord personally, adding “He's doing this to inflame and incite and to draw attention which seems to be his organizing principle of his campaign. And he doesn't represent the Republican party or his values.”
“Mr. Trump did not write this tweet. This was a retweet from somebody else on the posting of a major story that appeared on Breitbart,” a campaign spokeswoman told ABC News.
The campaign did not comment on the decision to delete the retweet.
ABC News' Christopher Good contributed to this report.