Bush Defends Use Of ‘Anchor Babies’: ‘I Didn’t Use It As My Own Language’

Jeb Bush on Thursday defended his use of the term “anchor babies” in an interview earlier this week, but said that he “didn’t use it as my own language.”

During a scrum with reporters that The Washington Post described as “one of his most aggressive exchanges with reporters to date,” Bush pushed back at reporters who asked whether he regretted using the term.

“No, I didn’t — I don’t, I don’t regret it. No, do you have a better term?” Bush said, according to The Hill, later adding, “You give me a better term and I’ll use it, I’m serious.”

Pressed further, he said, “Here’s the deal, what I said was it’s commonly referred to that, that’s what I said, I didn’t use it as my own language.”

So far, the former Florida governor has resisted the hard right tack taken by some GOP 2016ers — led by Donald Trump — who have called for an end of birthright citizenship, the longstanding practice of granting U.S.-born children citizenship no matter their parents’ legal status.

Bush drew flack nonetheless for using the term “anchor babies” in a radio interview Wednesday explaining his stance.

“If there’s fraud or if there’s abuse, if people are bringing, pregnant women are coming in to have babies simply because they can do it, then there ought to be greater enforcement,” he said. “That’s the legitimate side of this. Better enforcement so that you don’t have these, you know, ‘anchor babies,’ as they’re described, coming into the country.”

Hillary Clinton was quick to jump on the comment, tweeting, “They’re called babies.”

Even though he defended his use of the term Thursday, he called for a cooling of the rhetoric surrounding the debate.

“I think we need to tone down the rhetoric a little bit, talk about solutions and get on with fixing things in this country,” Bush said, according to The Washington Post.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Sincerely,
TPM Staff
Latest Livewire
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: