Jeb Bush's biggest problem in seeking the 2016 Republican nomination for president is not the controversial remarks he made last week about illegal aliens — it's the Bush name, syndicated columnist and CNN contributor Ruben Navarette says.
"He has a great chance to become the nominee and the eventual president," Navarette told Ed Berliner and Diane Dimond, guest hosts of "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"The number-one liability for Jeb Bush, really, three weeks ago before he made the statement [about illegal aliens], was the fact that his last name is Bush.
"There is . . . Bush fatigue. That, now today, is still his number-one liability," Navarette said Monday.
But he added that after five years of President Barack Obama in the White House, the negativity surrounding the Bush name is dissipating.
"[George W. Bush] is not looking too bad. He's coming back around in that regard," Navarette said.
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As far as Jeb Bush's comment about illegal aliens' committing "an act of love" by entering the United States in violation of the law, "at the end, it's just a blip on the screen." Navarette said.
"I don't think necessarily it helps with Hispanics, because Hispanics already love Jeb Bush, they're already big for Jeb Bush," he said.
When Donald Trump mentioned Bush's name over the weekend during a speech
at the Freedom Summit, hosted by the conservative groups Citizens United and Americans for Prosperity, the former Florida governor was booed.
"You know, I heard Jeb Bush the other day . . . He was talking about people that come into this country illegally. They do it for love," Trump told the GOP crowd.
"And I said, say it again. I didn't get — that's one I've never heard of before. I've heard money . . . I've heard sex, I've heard everything! The one thing I never heard of was love.
"I understand what he's saying, but, you know, it's out there, I'll tell you," Trump said.
But Navarette said he isn't concerned about the negative response.
"Politically, Donald Trump is a nobody.... Jeb Bush... is very strong with Wall Street, the money people that run the Republican Party."
If Bush were to run against Hillary Clinton, Navarette said, "in my mind, the Clinton fatigue is so much stronger.... If you elect Hilary Clinton, Bill Clinton comes with the package. There are a lot of people out there who [are appalled at] the thought of going back into the Clinton soap opera."
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