Noting the strong "Hispanic influence" in his family, GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush vowed that, if elected, he'd enact the comprehensive immigration reform that President Barack Obama promised, but failed, to achieve.
In a nearly half-hour interview with Telemundo Monday, a portion of which was aired on MSNBC, Bush, speaking entirely in Spanish, also told anchor Jose Diaz-Balart that he was "hurt" by GOP presidential primary rival Donald Trump's comments about illegal immigrants from Mexico.
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"I was hurt hearing somebody speaking in such a vulgar fashion," he said. "This makes the solving of this problem much more difficult when we have politicians talking like that.
"Besides that, he was offending millions of people that are here legally. It makes no sense. In a political sense, it's bad and it creates an environment that is worse. ... And I believe it’s important that I as a candidate offer a more optimistic version than Trump’s negativeness."
The Washington Post reports
it received an advanced copy of the entire interview audio, and estimated millions of Spanish speaking viewers would hear the interview on Telemundo, Univision and other Spanish-speaking outlets.
On immigration, Bush said "coming here legally has to be easier than coming here illegally," CNN reports.
"So there needs to be an agreement with the border ... for the 11 million people [who are here illegally], they must come out of the shadows, receive a work visa, start paying taxes and also pay a small fine, learn English, don't receive government benefits, but they come out of the shadows and they receive legal status after some time."
Bush was also critical of comments made over the weekend by former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who suggested President Barack Obama is trying to "take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven" by agreeing to the nuclear agreement with Iran.
"That use of those type of words doesn't help, doesn't help," Bush said, the Post reports.
"We must have a more civil policy debate in this country."
On Cuba, Bush reiterated he's "totally against [Obama's] policies recognizing the Castro brothers without getting anything in return," the Post reports.
And on Puerto Rico, he said island residents "should receive the respect first for self-determination, and then we should assist them as much as we can in their economic crisis," the Post reports.
Bush began the interview, however, by reiterating his family's bicultural heritage; his wife Columba was born in Mexico, and the couple have three children.
"We are very Hispanic, in that we speak Spanish in the house," he said, the Post reports.
"Columba is a good Mexican, proud of her citizenship of this country, of course, but we eat Mexican food in the home.
"My children are Hispanic in many aspects. We don't talk about it, but the Hispanic influence is an important part of my life."
Bush also recalled speaking to his son about his background, the Post reports.
"I remember one time when my son went to Ocala to play in a baseball game and the team was from Miami," he said. "The majority were Hispanics – my son George has brown skin. ... At one point, I had to describe, or tell him that people like him aren’t the majority. You need to accept it, but move on.
"Because he was really annoyed because he and his friends -- we don't have that problem in Miami, but in other parts of the country, yes."
"It was a good lesson to remember that we still don’t have a country of complete justice," he added. "You can see it in African American communities too, that there’s still discrimination. But in my life, it’s important to remember that."
The mixed heritage of Jeb Bush's children first earned national attention during the 1988 presidential campaign, the Post notes, when George H.W. Bush introduced his grandchildren — George P. Bush, Noelle Bush and Jeb Bush Jr. — to then-President Ronald Reagan as "the little brown ones."
The elder Bush later defended his comments, saying, "Those grandchildren are my pride and joy, and when I say pride, I mean it," the Post notes.
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