“It’s not going to work, people want an uplifting hopeful message, people come to this country to pursue their dreams, sometimes they start without speaking English, but they learn English and they add vitality to our country," Bush told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview.
It was in response to comments Trump made Wednesday in an interview with Breitbart News, saying “I like Jeb; he’s a nice man,” adding, “But he should really set the example by speaking English while in the United States.”
Trump’s words resulted in an avalanche of criticism from both Hispanic groups and other Republicans who accused him of trying to kill the party. Bush called the United States a “diverse country” adding that “we should celebrate that diversity and embrace a set of shared values and Mr. Trump doesn’t believe in those shared values. He wants to tear us apart, he doesn’t believe in tolerance, he doesn’t believe in the things that have created the greatness of this country.”
Trump’s comments are just the latest in a string of controversial language Trump has used about immigrants since he launched his campaign. Trump’s attack was prompted by Bush answering questions Wednesday in both English and Spanish, something the fluent speaker often does.
Bush said when he first heard Trump’s comments he “laughed.”
"I mean this is a joke,” Bush said, adding answering questions in both English and Spanish is the “reality of America.”
“That’s the goodness of America, that is the kind of America we want,” he added. “So part of it is you laugh because it’s so bizarre, but it is hurtful for a lot of people and Mr. Trump knows this, he’s appealing to people’s angst and their fears rather than their higher hopes.”
Stephanopoulos asked Bush if Trump was out to “get him,” and he answered that he believes the real estate mogul is “out to get everybody.”
“He doesn’t have a set of plans,” the former Florida governor said, calling Trump’s immigration plan to build a wall on the United States-Mexico border “not serious,” as well as “unconstitutional,” adding it “violates civil liberties."
This morning, Bush said “of course” he would support Trump if he was the nominee.
“We need to be unified, we need to win and I think Mr. Trump ought to figure out a way maybe to lessen the divisive language, the hurtful language and talk about the aspirations of the American people rather than trying to prey on their fears,” he said.
According to the Center for Immigration Studies, one in five U.S. residents or more than 61.8 million people speak a foreign language at home. An ABC News-Washington Post poll released just yesterday shows that 82 percent of Hispanics have an unfavorable view of Trump.
Bush is lagging in polls both nationally and in the early voting states. Today he said he will turn it around by “recognizing it’s a long road,” adding he has a “well-funded campaign.”
ABC's Candace Smith contributed to this report.