In the wake of recent critical remarks from Donald Trump directed at Jeb Bush for speaking Spanish, Sarah Palin waded into the debate about immigrantion and language in the U.S. on Sunday. Palin, who ran on John McCain’s losing ticket as nominee for V.P. in 2008, was talking on CNNs ‘State of the Union’ show.
“It’s a benefit of Jeb Bush to be able to be so fluent in Spanish, because we have a large and wonderful Hispanic population that is helping to build America,” she said, before adding a ‘but.’ “On the other hand, you know, I think we can send a message and say: ‘You want to be in America? ‘A’, you better be here legally, or you’re out of here. ‘B’, when you’re here, let’s speak American.’ I mean, that’s just, that’s – let’s speak English.”
Trump commented that Jeb Bush had spoken “Mexican” on a visit to the border last week and implied it was wrong for him to do so. For his part Bush, who is fluent in Spanish, said that he will continue to speak Spanish whenever he wants to.
There are about 45 million Americans who speak Spanish, some 38 million speak it in the home as their first language. It is not only (easily) the second most spoken language in the U.S. after English, it is high up on the list of countries with the most Spanish speakers. Mexico has the most Spanish speakers in the world and the U.S. and Spain are virtually tied for second.
Palin, incidently, said she gave Spanish a go in school but allows that she may have bitten off a bit more than she could chew. The former governor of Alaska told CNN she also took French and that she “shouldn’t have taken them both, because I got them all mixed up by the time I was graduating.”