Jeb Vs Trump: 3 Rounds, 3 Wins For Bush In Second Republican Debate
Even though they stood right next to each other on the stage, Jeb Bush and Donald Trump could not be more different. One is described by Politico as "polite, reasonable, and bilingual." The other is depicted as "blustery and visceral."
The stark contrast between the two candidates was on full display Wednesday night during the second Republican debate, hosted by CNN.
Despite leading in the polls, which show him with 32 percent of voter support, the debate showcased how tone-deaf, insensitive and out of touch Trump is on matters such as immigration, women's issues and foreign policy.
The same poll puts Jeb Bush in third place, but after Wednesday night, there's good reason he shouldn't be.
Whereas Trump spent the majority of the evening on the attack, Bush spent his time defending loved ones, namely his Mexican-American wife, Columba, and his brother, former president George Bush.
Both instances prompted very human moments from Bush, casting Trump in a less-than-likable light.
Here's a play-by-play of the David and Goliath-like sparring that went on between the two during the three-hour ordeal, and the reasons why Jeb Bush emerged silently victorious.
1. Round One: Political Donations
The greatest draw among Trump's supporters is that he is a wealthy businessman who can finance his own campaign. He likes to position himself as someone who can't be bought, but that's only because he's the one used to doing all the buying.
Take, for example, the back-and-forth that ensued when moderator Jake Tapper asked Bush if he would be a "puppet" for donors. Bush pointed to a real-life example of a rich donor who had tried to influence one of his decisions as governor of Florida.
"The one guy that had some special interests that I know of that tried to get me to change my views on something, that was generous and gave me money, was Donald Trump. He wanted casino gambling in Florida," Bush recalled.
Trump called the story, confirmed by multiple sources, completely false. "I promise if I wanted it, I would have gotten it," he replied.
Trump seems to imply it's okay for him to circumnavigate the political process — hiring a lobbyist to press for the expansion of gambling in Florida — but then acts as if he's above the back-door dealings he has been a part of.
He wants to get money out of politics, but only after years of siphoning money into the political system to try to pass things he wanted.
Jeb Bush didn't press the issue as firmly as he should have, but he at least called Trump out on his hypocrisy, giving him a win in round one of the evening.
2. Round Two: Women's Issues
The next face-off occurred when Trump criticized Bush for a statement he made in August about women's health issues being overfunded.
Bush would later clarify he was referring to the $500 million in federal funding that Planned Parenthood receives each year, but Trump pressed him, saying he heard him loud and clear.
“I think it will haunt him. I think it’s terrible,” Trump said, shaking his head. With all previous evidence to the contrary, Trump added, “I will take care of women. I respect women."
It appeared Jeb Bush shot a quizzical and doubting look to Carly Fiorina at this point, who provided the best indirect defense of Bush that evening.
She was asked to respond to Trump's disparaging comments in Rolling Stone about her appearance, when he quipped, "Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!"
Fiorina took the prior exchange between Bush and Trump and ran with it, saying, "You know it's interesting to me, Mr. Trump said that he heard Mr. Bush very clearly. I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said."
Trump didn't seem to know how to respond to this well-placed zinger, lamely telling the moderator, "I think she’s got a beautiful face and I think she’s a beautiful woman."
As Bustle points out,
"Evidently, Trump thinks the problem with his comment was that he said something negative about Fiorina's appearance, not the inherent sexism in criticizing a female opponent for her looks rather than her stance on various issues."
Trump made a mistake attacking Bush on his comments regarding women's issues, providing an easy in for Fiorina and an indirect win for Bush.
By springing on Bush's minor gaffe in August, Trump exposed his even bigger faux-pas regarding Fiorina, a topic his advisors probably wish he would have stayed away from.
3. Round Three: Immigration
The last showdown between the two occurred on the issue of immigration.
Despite findings that show Hispanics are projected to make up 25 percent of the US population in 2044, Trump continued to criticize Jeb Bush for speaking Spanish, as if being bilingual was a liability in the presidential race.
"The simple fact is if a high school kid asks me a question in Spanish ... I'm going to show respect and answer that question in Spanish, even though they do speak English and embrace American values," Bush replied, taking the high ground on an issue that could cost him points with the Republican base.
Trump, in contrast, reiterated his belief that immigrants should learn English for assimilation to work.
The moderator then referenced a time when Trump retweeted a follower's post that read,
#JebBush has to like the Mexican Illegals because of his wife.
When asked if he thought Trump had gone too far, Bush nodded, saying Trump had "subject[ed] my wife into a raucous political conversation, I hope you apologize for that."
Taking the normal political low-ground, Trump merely said, "No I won't, because what I said wasn't wrong."
Once again, Trump failed to make any conciliation to the Hispanic population in the United States. Bush's defense of his wife and speaking Spanish show clear differences in both candidates' style.
One is for assimilation; one is for accommodation. This was another win for Bush.
Regardless of your views, it's clear Jeb Bush and Donald Trump are very different kinds of candidates, and their words during the debate are testaments to the kind of men they will be as leaders.