Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Jeb Bush self-identified as ‘Hispanic’ in 2009 voter form, laughs off ‘mistake’

Jeb latino

In a 2009 voter registration form obtained by the New York Times, former Florida governor and likely GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush listed himself as “Hispanic” in what is now being perceived as a humorous gaff from the Bush camp, but as a serious offense from Democrats who feel the misstep reveals a leader well-removed from Latinos. Bush, whose wife, Columba, was born in León, Mexico, speaks fluent Spanish, a skill likely polished in Venezuela where he was a vice president for Texas Commerce Bank in the late 1970’s.

“LOL – come on dad, think you checked the wrong box #HonoraryLatino,” 33-year-old Jeb Bush Jr. tweeted at his father on Monday, linking the Times story. Jeb quickly retweeted his son’s tweet, adding, “My mistake! Don’t think I’ve fooled anyone!”

As presidential hopefuls continue adding their names to the expectedly long list of potential candidates, Bush is aiming to continue appealing to Latino voters to ramp up his rapport with the critical voting bloc. What to some might appear as the former governor getting carried away with his familial and personal ties to the Latino community, his camp thought otherwise and later issued a more formal statement about the mistake.

“It’s unclear where the paperwork error was made,” spokeswoman Kristy Campbell emailed reporters. “The Governor’s family certainly got a good laugh out of it. He is not Hispanic.”

Indeed, a victory for Bush (or the GOP writ large) necessitates votes from Latinos, and the former governor is no stranger to that fact. Honorary Latino or not, this self-identification error will surely resonate with the Latino community, but the extent of that impact remains uncertain.

Politico; The New York Times