Tags: Trump Administration | Jeb Bush | Jeb Bush | Columba Bush | Jose Maria Garnica Rodriguez

Differing Accounts on Family History of Jeb's Father-in-Law

By    |   Thursday, 19 Mar 2015 09:58 AM

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and his wife, Columba, have always maintained that her father abandoned his young family to work in the U.S., causing a permanent sever to their relationship, but relatives in Mexico are disputing that account.

According to Politico, Jose Maria Garnica Rodriguez's second wife insists he never abandoned the family, and instead it was Columba's departure for America to be with Jeb that ended their relationship.

"He never abandoned her. She was the one who left with Jeb," Antonia Morales Mendez told Politico. She also told London's Daily Mail in January: "Once she left with this guy, she had no relationship at all with her father."

Mendez speculated that the Columba rift was driven by fame or money.

Rodriguez's brother, Antonio, said it hurt his brother "a lot, in a big way, because they never allowed him to see his grandchildren."

"He knew them only out of magazines, newspapers, and TV," Mendez said through tears, according to Politico. "He died really wanting to meet his grandchildren."

But Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell insisted the story was inaccurate.

"Mrs. Bush did not have a relationship with her father after he left her mother and their family when Mrs. Bush was just a young teenager," she told Politico.

She later added: "Much of the story [the relatives have] offered is either inaccurate or incomplete. It's not surprising Mrs. Bush wouldn't want to maintain a relationship with the man who abandoned her mother and family."

Columba and Jeb met as teenagers in the city of Leon in Mexico when Bush was an exchange student. He has since described the meeting as love at first sight, and earlier this month described his life in two segments, B.C. and A.C., "before Columba and after Columba."

Columba, in the past, has described her childhood as "sad" and said she didn't talk to her father "because my dad divorced my mom in 1963, when I was 10, and since then there is a rift."

"For whatever reason, she speaks ill, she has bad feelings," Mendez told Politico.

"Probably Columba had the opinion about her father because her mother told her these things. Columba's mother was three years older than Jose Maria. She was extremely jealous of him. If he would sit next to a girl on the bus, she would make him miserable for that."

Her father initially left Mexico and was working illegally picking fruit and vegetables before he ultimately got a green card and worked in construction.

Columba's relatives also reported that she lived with her father briefly when she moved from Leon to Southern California, and her father told The Associated Press in 2001 that she left his house abruptly in 1973 telling him she was going to the post office.

"He never saw her again," Mendez said. "She became girlfriend with Jeb and then she went to La Puente [California, where her father had a house] and then she took off," her uncle told Politico. "And that was it."

Columba married into the Bush family in 1974. Her mother and sister live in the Miami area. She became a U.S. citizen in 1979.

Jeb made headlines last year for saying that illegal immigration can in some cases be "an act of love."

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Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and his wife, Columba, have always maintained that her father abandoned his young family to work in the U.S., causing a permanent sever to their relationship, but relatives in Mexico are disputing that account.
Jeb Bush, Columba Bush, Jose Maria Garnica Rodriguez
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2015-58-19
Thursday, 19 Mar 2015 09:58 AM
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