Donald Trump and Jeb Bush’s ongoing feud reached a new low on Monday with the two Republican hopefuls exchanging their latest round of attacks on social media. As shouldn’t surprise anyone by now, Jeb’s counter-punch looked downright civil compared to The Donald’s nasty haymaker.
Trump swung first and hardest on Instagram, opting for some old-fashioned fear mongering that was reminiscent of the infamous “Willie Horton” attack ad that George H.W. Bush backers used to help Jeb’s father defeat Michael Dukakis in the 1988 general election:
If you listen to the full Jeb quote that Trump cherrypicks, it’s clear that Bush wasn’t talking about alleged murders (obviously) but instead immigrants who come to this country illegally for the sake of their families—though the reality of attack ads is that the audience rarely learns the full quote. “I honestly think that that is a different kind of crime that there should be a price paid, but it shouldn’t rile people up that people are actually coming to this country to provide for their families,” Bush said last year.
Of course, even that moderate position looks incredibly out of place in the current immigration conversation being had by GOP hopefuls, which now includes talk of building a wall on both of our borders and tracking foreigners like they’re a FedEx package. Bush, likewise, sounds a whole lot less compassionate than he did a year ago now that he’s trying to win over immigration hardliners by insulting Hispanics and Asians.
In a different time, successfully linking your rival to Nancy Pelosi would be a small but significant political win for a conservative White House hopeful. In the summer of Trump, though? Not so much.