Do all “those people” look the same to Jeb Bush? Seriously, because this guy can’t seem to tell two important people apart. On the campaign trail, Bush has been telling this bizarre anecdote about cultural sensitivity and President Obama’s visit with the President of China.
Jeb, using an anecdote about cultural differences with China, mispronounces First Daughter Malia's name. For the second time.
— Candace Smith (@CandaceSmith_) January 19, 2016
Here’s what happened: Bush remarked to the Council on Foreign Relations that the Chinese “have no clue about us. And frankly, we have no clue about them. And that difference can create all sorts of bad outcomes.”
“The best example — seems like a small thing — is in 2009 after the president’s reelection. There was the summit in Palm Springs, and Mrs. Obama didn’t go to the summit,” Bush said. He’s actually describing a trip in June 2013 when Chinese President Xi Jinping came to the United States with First Lady Peng Liyuan.
Bush said it was a huge scandal back in China because First Lady Michelle Obama didn’t go to California. “Mrs. Obama and the United States government, and the United States, therefore, were insulting China and its first couple by not being there.”
“And every meeting I had in Beijing started out for the first 10 minutes started out lambasting me about why it was, as an American, why it was that we insulted China. And I’m thinking, you know what, it could be that Mrs. Obama was worried about the science project of Malala.”
Apparently, he has been doing this for most of January:
Jeb, while telling an anecdote about FLOTUS, invokes her daughter, calling her "Malayla."
— Candace Smith (@CandaceSmith_) January 6, 2016
So, there are a lot of things happening here. First, you can’t allege cultural insensitivity when you don’t even know the difference between Malia Obama and Malala Yousafzai. Let me channel David Letterman for a minute and try and help: Malala…. Malia….
Malala won the Nobel Peace Prize and was shot in the head by the Taliban:
Malia is the 17-year-old daughter of the 44th President of the United States:
Second, I’m not sure insulting Michelle Obama for being a dedicated mother is a good idea both for ethical reasons and for political ones. You see, the First Lady has a 66 percent favorability rating. Jeb Bush has a 31.5 percent favorability rating. Also, attacking a mom for insinuating that she’s being a good mom is probably not great for getting the women’s vote. Definitely not the mom vote.
Third, what the hell is he even talking about? This is the most insane and convoluted story I’ve ever heard that makes zero sense. Maybe it’s just my ADHD talking, but I got lost after the first non-sequitur. Finally, didn’t republicans attack Obama for bowing to the Japanese Emperor? Where does the GOP draw the line between being polite and a snub? Because it seems a little convoluted when you call bowing “treason” and not being at a meeting a “snub.” In the end, it just sounds like complaining for the sake of complaining.
Slamming President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for “insulting” China all while butchering their oldest daughter’s name seems like a task that is a little too tough for Bush. Maybe he should just stick with insulting Donald Trump. It might be easier.
Feature image by Gage Skidmore/Flickr.