[caption id="attachment_80151" align="aligncenter" width="282"] Jeb Bush suggested the Iron Lady for the Tenner[/caption]
By Irish Echo Staff
Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush has caused uproar among Irish Americans after he proposed putting Margaret Thatcher on the ten dollar bill.
"I would go with Ronald Reagan's partner: Margaret Thatcher," Bush said in response to a question asked all the candidates at Wednesday’s second GOP presidential debate held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and broadcast on CNN.
"A strong leader is what we need in the White House, and she certainly was a strong leader that restored the United Kingdom to greatness," Bush said, though he did qualify his response by adding that choosing a foreigner probably wouldn’t fly under U.S. law.
It’s a fair bet to say that as far as many Irish Americans are concerned, the idea wouldn’t fly under any circumstances.
Fr. Sean McManus, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Irish National Caucus, was aghast at the idea.
“He’s not a stupid man. So why would he say such a thing?” Said McManus in a statement.
“How could he be so desensitized to the suffering of Irish Catholics in Northern Ireland under the racist, anti-Catholic and cruel rule of Maggie Thatcher,” said the Fermanagh-born priest.
“Maggie Thatcher is on record as regarding the Irish as, ‘shiftless, sniveling and spineless.’
“And Peter Mandelson MP, former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, has testified that Thatcher stated to him in 1999 : ‘I've got one thing to say to you, my boy … you can't trust the Irish they're all liars… liars, and that's what you have to remember so just don't forget it.’”
Fr. Mc Manus continued: “It should not matter if an Irish American is Republican or Democrat. All self-respecting Irish Americans must demand an apology from Jeb Bush for his insensitive and offensive statement.
“Maggie Thatcher viciously and heartlessly forced ten young Irish Catholics in Northern Ireland to die on hunger strike. Not one British leader today would defend Thatcher’s conduct, yet Jeb Bush gratuitously and outrageously endorses her conduct as if Irish Americans don’t count. What does that say about the guy?”
The morning after the debate, NBC was reporting that “Jeb Bush might be changing his mind about his statement that he'd like to see former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on the $10 bill.”
Speaking to NBC News, Bush, according to the report, “instead said that he'd like to see the American people decide which woman deserves to be on U.S. currency, suggesting that a question about the bill during the second GOP presidential debate Wednesday night was not ‘the most relevant thing in the world.’
"I would give it up to -- on the internet and let people decide this. That would generate a lot of interest," Bush said.
"It could create all sorts of opportunities for math teachers to teach math, for social studies teachers to do the same. You could have an avalanche of interest in picking the woman that should be on the $10 bill."