Just the mention of former Gov. Jeb Bush’s “act of love” immigration comment drew boos from conservatives at a New Hampshire meeting on Saturday.
Billionaire Donald Trump was a guest at the New Hampshire Freedom Summit, a gathering of conservative activists organized by Citizens United and Americans for Prosperity.
Alexandra Jaffe of The Hill reports that Trump referred to Bush’s comments about undocumented immigrants coming to the U.S. as “not a felony, but an act of love,” calling them “out there.”
“You know, I heard Jeb Bush the other day,” he told the crowd, which murmured at the mention of Bush’s name. “He was talking about people that come into this country illegally, they do it for love.”
With that, boos grew louder.
“And I said, say it again I didn’t get — that’s one I’ve never heard before,” Trump continued as the audience roared with laughter. “I understand what he’s saying, but, you know, it’s out there.”
Said during a recent interview, Bush’s comments drew considerable conservative backlash, but he later defended them at the Prescott Bush Award dinner in Connecticut on Thursday.
Although he did not repeat the comments, Bush did encourage the crowd of Republican Party faithful to take “sensitivity to the immigrant experience.”
Both Bush and Trump are considering possible 2016 presidential runs, with Bush regularly mentioned as one of the top names in the GOP presidential field while Jaffe notes that Trump rarely appears in any serious discussion of White House contenders.