Trump to bilingual Bush: ‘We should be speaking English.’

September 4, 2015

WASHINGTON – Donald Trump wants people living in the United States to speak English. That’s no small undertaking. Nor is it a trivial number of people employing another language in their houses; the U.S. Census Bureau found in 2010 that 55 million of the 319 million in the U.S. don’t speak English at home. Some 34 million speak Spanish.

In addition, almost all U.S. residents who apply to become naturalized citizens are required to prove their ability to read, write and understand English when they take their citizenship tests. “We’re a nation that speaks English, and I think while we’re in this nation we should be speaking English,” Trump said on Thursday to cheers from his supporters. He made the case that it’s about getting immigrants to assimilate. “I think it’s more appropriate to be speaking English.”

The debate over speaking English was fueled by Trump’s criticism of Jeb Bush for using Spanish to a jab at the New York real estate mogul. “El hombre no es conservador,” Bush told a group of Spanish-speaking questioners at a bilingual school in Miami, saying Trump isn’t a conservative. Bush is a fluent Spanish speaker.

Jeb Bush speaks to the media following a town hall with high school students at La Progresiva Presbyterian School in Miami, Florida, September 1, 2015. REUTERS/Joe Skipper

Jeb Bush speaks to the media following a town hall with high school students at La Progresiva Presbyterian School in Miami, Florida, September 1, 2015. REUTERS/Joe Skipper

Trump responded by telling a conservative website that Bush should be speaking English. “He’s a nice man. But he should really set the example by speaking English while in the United States,” Trump told Breitbart News.

Behind the political jabs, lie the numbers. A signficant number of the immigrants (24 million) who don’t speak English at home nonetheless speak English “very well” outside of it, according to 2012 Census estimates. The Census found 34.5 percent spoke English “very well” and 21.2 percent “well.” Only 19.3 percent spoke English “not well” and 9.6 percent “not at all.”

 

 

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