CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush about his ability to speak Spanish, and Bush responded by asking Cooper in Spanish if he wanted to conduct the rest of the interview in his second tongue.
The exchange happened during CNN’s town hall meeting Thursday night.
COOPER: I — actually, I read something from your son, Jeb Jr., who said that you guys speak Spanish in the home. Is that true?
BUSH: Yeah. Yeah.
COOPER: Pretty much exclusively?
COOPER: You must be pretty good.
BUSH: … yeah. No, I — I’m fluent. I’m — I’m — I’m bilingual.
BUSH: We can do it — si quieres hacer esta entrevista en Espanol, los hemos.
The phrase, “Si quieres hacer esta entrevista en Espanol, los hemos,” translates to “If you want to conduct this interview in Spanish, we can.” Bush then said his relationship with his wife Columba,who was born in Mexico and whose second language is English, was “bicultural” and that it brings diversity, joy, and adds vitality to his life. He then said Columba was his “inspiration.”
She is my inspiration. I tell people my life can be divided in a lot of ways, but the most important way, perhaps, is A.C. and B.C. — you know, Before Columba and After Columba. And the After Columba part of my life has been a lot better. I’m a lot better person because of it as well. Love you, dear.
Bush’s wife rarely speaks English in public, even though she is well-spoken and charming when conducting interviews in Spanish.
In a 2016 video, her 15-second English-language script was very simple; “I have lived more than half my life here. So, you know, I agree that we all have the same interests, the same feelings. We go to church every Sunday. We have celebrations with the family. We keep our traditions. You know, but at the end it’s just that, you know, faith, friends, and family.”
In an interview with Shannon Bream of Fox News in April of 2014, Bush said crossing the Mexico-U.S. border illegally was an “act of love“:
I’m gonna say this and it’ll be on tape. And so be it. The way I look at this is someone who comes to our country because they couldn’t come legally. They come to our country because their families, a dad who loved their children was worried that their children didn’t have food on the table and wanted to make sure their family was in tact. And they crossed the border because they had no other means to work to be able to provide for their family. Yes, they broke the law. But it’s not a felony. It’s an act of love. It’s an act of commitment to your family.
Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz.