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  • CNN: “Near Unanimous Agreement” Among Journalists That AP Botched Its Report On Clinton Meetings

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    CNN’s senior media reporter Dylan Byers reported that media outlets criticized an “arguably misleading” story by the Associated Press, where an “inaccurate tweet” promoting the story falsely claimed that “more than half” of the people who met Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state had also donated to the Clinton Foundation.

    According to the AP’s original review (the story has since been changed) of State Department calendars released to the organization so far, covering roughly half of Clinton’s tenure at State, “[a]t least 85 of 154 people from private interests who met or had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton while she led the State Department donated to her family charity or pledged commitments to its international programs.” The AP promoted this story on Twitter by proclaiming “[m]ore than half those who met Clinton as Cabinet secretary gave money to Clinton Foundation.”

    Byers explained that other journalists “noted that Clinton had held thousands of meetings with government employees, foreign representatives, civil leaders, journalists and others while Secretary of State that were not accounted for in the AP's report,” but the AP “is still standing by its story and has yet to correct its tweet, despite near unanimous agreement among other journalists that the tweet, at least, was false.” The AP’s story was also criticized for characterizing Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, who has been a friend of the Clintons for decades, as little more than a donor asking for help. From Byers’ August 26 report:

    Hillary Clinton is surrounded by suggestions of controversy. Terms like "Clinton Foundation," "email server," and "Benghazi" hover around her like a faint smoke that hints at the existence of fire.

    But finding the fire -- the lie, the misdeed, the unethical act -- is proving to be rather difficult, as evidenced this week by an inaccurate tweet and arguably misleading story from the Associated Press that were quickly rebutted by the Clinton campaign and dismissed by many media outlets.

    Three days later, the Associated Press is still standing by its story and has yet to correct its tweet, despite near unanimous agreement among other journalists that the tweet, at least, was false.

    "The AP's social-media take on the story was seriously flawed," David Boardman, the Dean of the School of Media and Communication at Temple University and former editor of the Seattle Times, told CNNMoney. "It's sloppy, click-grabbing shorthand that is a disservice to the reporting to which it refers."

    [...]

    This "extraordinary" finding, as the AP put it, was deemed less extraordinary by other journalists and pundits who noted that Clinton had held thousands of meetings with government employees, foreign representatives, civil leaders, journalists and others while Secretary of State that were not accounted for in the AP's report.

    [...]

    Meanwhile, other news organizations pilloried the AP's report.

    The Washington Post Fact-Checker wrote that there were "many more nuanced and important details in the story that are being misrepresented — by the AP's own promotional tweet, and by Trump."

    Vox's Matthew Yglesias was more direct: "The AP's big exposé on Hillary meeting with Clinton Foundation donors is a mess," his headline read.

  • Trump Campaign CEO Steve Bannon Repeatedly Failed To Disclose Breitbart News’ Financial Ties To Egyptian Businessman

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVIA KITTEL

    Undisclosed ties to an Egyptian businessman and former political official are just the latest disclosure issues for Stephen Bannon, chief executive for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign.

    Bannon, who is also the executive chairman of Breitbart News, “is known to stay,” according to The Guardian, in a Washington, D.C., town home owned by Egyptian businessman and former politician Mostafa El-Gindy. Gindy’s home also reportedly serves as the Breitbart News D.C. headquarters. Breitbart News has not disclosed its financial ties to El-Gindy in numerous pieces that cite him favorably, while Bannon and Breitbart News have baselessly accused Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton of engaging in pay-for-play deals with foreign countries as secretary of state and spread false smears shared discredited book Clinton Cash.

    Bannon, whom Trump hired on August 17 to help head Trump’s presidential campaign, used his position as Breitbart News’ executive chairman to run the conservative website as a propaganda arm of the Trump campaign.

    The Guardian reported August 26 that Bannon is “is known to stay” in a Washington, D.C., town home, known as the “Breitbart embassy,” that’s owned by “Mostafa El-Gindy, an Egyptian businessman and former member of parliament.” Breitbart has reportedly operated its Washington, D.C., bureau from the Gindy-owned home since 2011. From the Guardian’s report:

    Bannon also co-owns a condominium in Los Angeles and is known to stay at the so-called “Breitbart embassy”, a luxurious $2.4m townhouse beside the supreme court in Washington DC, where his website’s staff work from basement offices. A Bloomberg profile of Bannon published last October, with which he cooperated, stated that Bannon “occupies” the townhouse and described it as being “his”.

    But according to records at the DC office of tax and revenue, the Breitbart house is actually owned by Mostafa El-Gindy, an Egyptian businessman and former member of parliament. Gindy has received favorable coverage from Breitbart News, which styles him as a “senior statesman”, without an accompanying disclosure that he is the website’s landlord.

    As the Guardian report noted, “Gindy has received favorable coverage from Breitbart News, which styles him as a ‘senior statesman’, without an accompanying disclosure that he is the website’s landlord.” Breitbart News has consistently refused to disclose its financial ties to Gindy.

    Ironically, Bannon and his conservative website have long led a smear campaign against Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation by making discredited and false attacks and spreading the baseless smears hyped in the discredited book Clinton Cash, which was written by Breitbart editor-at-large Peter Schweizer. (Trump has also predictably adopted their unfounded attacks on Hillary Clinton.) Bannon wrote and produced a documentary film that accompanied the error-filled book, both of which made a series of baseless allegations of corruption and quid pro quo by the Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton that have been widely discredited. Bannon is also the executive chairman and co-founder of the Government Accountability Institute, of which Schweizer is president.

  • Rachel Maddow Rips Trump After "Stunning" And "Profound Rejection" From Reputable Economists

    Blog ››› ››› ALEX MORASH

    MSNBC host Rachel Maddow ridiculed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump after a Wall Street Journal survey found not a single former member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) would support his presidency.

    Maddow opened the August 25 edition of her program by blasting Trump over a Wall Street Journal survey that revealed that no former CEA members would state support for the GOP nominee. Maddow reported that while this “very diverse group” of 45 economists had served eight different presidents -- including five Republicans -- “the one thing they all have in common is that not a single one of them supports Donald Trump for president.”

    According to the Journal, no Democratic or Republican advisers expressed support for Trump. Two former Republican advisers (Matthew Slaughter and Richard Schmalensee) crossed party lines to offer support for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. And two GOP advisers (former Reagan appointees William Poole and Jerry Jordan) even stated their support for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson over their own party’s nominee. Maddow called the survey result “stunning,” and compared the economists’ “profound rejection” of Trump to being passed over at a dance. Maddow noted that it was like asking someone to dance, “and everybody in the world decides they will never dance again because of you” (emphasis added):

    RACHEL MADDOW (HOST): It's one thing to have, you know, some dissident Republicans rejecting a party's presidential nominee. It happens here and there. It happens, to a greater or lesser extent, with almost every nominee from both major parties every election cycle. There's always a dissenter here or there, but when it's everyone alive who has ever worked for any American president as an economic adviser including the last five Republican presidents, and they all reject you. That’s not like, you ask somebody to dance and they say, “no I don't want to dance with you.” That's like, you ask someone to dance and everybody in the world decides they will never dance again because of you. I mean, this is just -- this is profound rejection. I find that just stunning.

    During the segment, Maddow also highlighted a bitingly critical indictment of Trump that Harvard economist Martin Feldstein, a former CEA chairman under President Reagan, told to The Wall Street Journal:

    “I have known personally every Republican president since Richard Nixon. They all showed a real understanding of economics and international affairs. The same was true of Mitt Romney. Donald Trump does not have that understanding and does not seem to be concerned about it. That alone disqualifies him in my judgement.”

    The revelations from the Journal’s survey were also a topic of conversation on the August 26 edition of CNN’s New Day, during which Trump booster Steve Forbes dismissed the revelation and pivoted to highlight the supposed strength of Trump's advisers: Stephen Moore and Larry Kudlow. Moore and Kudlow have been dogged for making inaccurate statements and failed predictions over the years. Moore was accused of having “a troubled relationship with facts” by Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, who went on to say that Moore may be maintaining a career in conservative economics only because “incompetence is actually desirable at some level” in those circles. Meanwhile, Kudlow recently lectured single parents that they are partly to blame for poverty even though he admitted to having "virtually no knowledge in this field.”

    The Journal's failure to find a single Democratic or Republican supporter of Trump among 45 former presidential economic advisers follows an August 22 report from the paper that hundreds of business economists overwhelmingly prefer Clinton as the best candidate on the economy. Clinton received the support of 55 percent of 414 economists surveyed by the National Association of Business Economics (NABE). Trump drew votes from just 14 percent of NABE members, once again registering less support on the economy than Gary Johnson, who garned 15 percent.

    The almost complete lack of support for Trump on the economy comes despite months of the GOP nominee being the dominant force in cable news discussions of the economy -- thanks in part to appearing on Fox News’ Hannity 24 times during the first six months of 2016.

  • Media Should Note Common Denominator In Recent Wave Of Anti-LGBT Court Battles

    Blog ››› ››› ERIN FITZGERALD

    In the last week, two courts have decided against the rights of LGBT people and their families in major equality battles, and Texas’ attorney general has filed a third lawsuit regarding LGBT Americans. As the media cover these cases, they should connect the dots that lead back to one nefarious organization: the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), an extremist group leading the national fight against LGBT equality.

    Alliance Defending Freedom is a right-wing legal powerhouse that’s linked to nearly every recent legal attack on LGBT equality in the United States -- as well as attacks on women’s reproductive health. ADF is behind the national push for both anti-LGBT “religious freedom” legislation that seeks to legalize discrimination against LGBT people and so-called bathroom bills that aim to prohibit transgender people, including public school students, from using facilities that align with their gender identity. ADF also works internationally to attack LGBT equality, including by helping defend laws in Belize and Jamaica that would put people in prison for engaging in gay sex.

     

     

    EEOC v. R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. A U.S. District Judge issued a summary judgement on August 19 in favor of Harris Funeral Homes in Michigan, which fired an employee, Aimee Stephens, after she told her employers of her plans to transition from male to female. ADF lawyers are now representing the chain of funeral homes, and they lauded last week’s decision, highlighting the court’s language about company owner Thomas Rost:

    Rost sincerely believes that it would be violating God’s commands if he were to permit an employee who was born a biological male to dress in a traditionally female skirt-suit at the funeral home because doing so would support the idea that sex is a changeable social construct rather than an immutable God-given gift.

    State of Texas v. United States of America. On August 21, a federal judge in Texas issued a nationwide preliminary injunction against a joint guidance released by the departments of Education and Justice that explained school administrators’ obligations to ensure that transgender students can attend school without facing discrimination based on sex. It built off previous court decisions and guidance stating that discrimination against transgender students constitutes illegal sex discrimination under federal law. The injunction was sought by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who filed a lawsuit against the the federal government along with several other states in response to the guidance. The lead counsel on this case is Austin Nimocks, who works for Paxton’s office but previously served as senior counsel at ADF.

    State of Texas v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. On the heels of the above court ruling in its favor, Paxton’s office filed a new lawsuit on August 23 against the Department of Health and Human Services over nondiscrimination protections and expanded medical care for transgender people included in the Affordable Care Act. This case was also assigned to Judge Reed O’Connor, the same judge who granted the injunction against transgender students. The recent actions of Paxton’s office drew swift condemnation from the editorial board at The New York Times:

    These legal assaults on equal protection for transgender Americans are based on bigotry and the specious claim that they pose a threat to the safety of others. The toll exacted on this vulnerable population is heavy and will remain so as these cases and other litigation involving transgender laws move through the courts.

    As these cases continue to move through the court system, journalists should expose the extremist legal group behind the coordinated assault on LGBT equality. 

  • Associated Press Becomes Latest To Get Burned Chasing Clinton 'Scandal' Stories

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    As denunciations of the Associated Press continue to mount, and the wire service tries to defend its wildly misleading report about the Clinton Foundation donors Hillary Clinton met with or talked to while serving as secretary of state, keep in mind the AP now joins a long list of news outlets that have been burned chasing Clinton-related 'scandal' stories in recent years.

    Out to prove that Clinton was granting special access to foundation supporters, and that “possible ethics challenges” loomed if she were elected president, the AP announced on Twitter that “half” the people she met with while running the State Department had donated to her family charity. The claim set off a media firestorm, but it was completely false.

    Unfortunately, there’s a long tradition of media players practicing tunnel vision in pursuit of hollow Clinton gotcha stories; stories that instantly portray her, sometimes alongside President Obama, as being villainous or deceitful, but turn out to be flat wrong.

    Remember in 2015 when The New York Times accused Clinton of having possibly "violated federal requirements" for document retention with her use of personal email for official government business? It turned out that hint of criminality was invented by the Times, as several news outlets subsequently confirmed.

    In 2013, ABC News’ Jonathan Karl got duped by a (likely Republican) source regarding the contents of White House emails discussing the formulation of talking points in the wake of the Benghazi terror attack. Going off bad intel, the ABC exclusive accused the administration of having "scrubbed" vital information from the talking points, which sparked a media frenzy. (Karl later expressed “regret” for the flaws in the report.)

    That same year, CBS’ Lara Logan presented a bogus Benghazi investigation on 60 Minutes that relied on a supposed eyewitness to the terror attack; an eyewitness who previously told the FBI he had been nowhere near the U.S. diplomatic compound on the night of the killings. (The “witness” also told Logan he had scaled a twelve-foot high wall during the attack in order to bash a terrorist in the face.)

    Now the AP joins that list.

    I will note that unlike the New York Times, ABC News and CBS News examples cited above, the AP’s donor story this week did not revolve around false information. Instead, the AP chose to present information in a demonstrably misleading and unfair way, generating a firestorm of media coverage and dishonest campaign attack lines from Donald Trump.

    Caveat: In its “BREAKING” tweet promoting the story, the AP did push categorically false information about Clinton and foundation donors. The AP tweet announced, “More than half those who met Clinton as Cabinet secretary gave money to Clinton Foundation.” But the AP’s own article contradicted that claim: The “half” represents a minor subset of people who met with or talked to Clinton. The brazenly false tweet, designed to generate controversy, still hasn’t been corrected or deleted by the AP.

    Overall, the AP misfire seemed to be fueled by a newsroom desire to document Clinton malfeasance where none exists, or to ring the optics warning bell. “That is basically what most every drummed up ‘scandal’ against Hillary Clinton comes down to: from the perspective of the people judging her – it looks bad,” wrote Nancy LeTourneau at Washington Monthly in the wake of the APs’ failed donor story. “The AP blew their story,” she added.

    LeTourneau wasn’t alone in coming to that conclusion.

    From Vox:

    The nut fact that the AP uses to lead its coverage is wrong, and [Stephen] Braun and [Eileen] Sullivan’s reporting reveals absolutely no unethical conduct … There’s just nothing here. That’s the story. Braun and Sullivan looked into it, and as best they can tell, [Clinton’s] clean.

    The New Republic:

    Its entire premise was built on the kind of tendentious data-shaping that is the bread and butter of opposition researchers, not news outlets.

    And Inside Philanthropy [emphasis added]:

    Look, I get that the media doesn’t yet grasp how enmeshed our “charitable” sector has become in politics and public policy, since it's complicated and opaque stuff. But reporters like Stephen Braun and Eileen Sullivan should do their homework before writing about places where these two paths meet, like the Clinton Foundation, in order to provide more context. Otherwise, they’re just being irresponsible. 

    That last critique hit upon the glaring fact that the AP provided virtually no context for its Clinton hit piece. Rather than showing how Clinton’s contact with donors was “extraordinary,” the AP simply stated that as fact. That, along with plenty of innuendo, was supposed to convince readers that there was something very wrong with Clinton meeting with or speaking to 85 foundation donors over her days as secretary of state.

    Here’s the key: The AP’s face-plant this week wasn’t a one-off instance of a newsroom temporarily losing its way and editors inexplicably okaying for publication an investigation that stridently tried to skew the facts. This is what happens all the time with Clinton coverage. The press is absolutely locked into a GOP-friendly mindset.

    As Matthew Yglesias suggested at Vox, AP reporters and editors, using the exact same information they uncovered about Clinton’s visitors, could have written a factually accurate article about how, despite what her critics loudly claim, there’s no proof Clinton sold access, let alone favors, to foundation donors. Instead, the AP, adhering closely to accepted Beltway storylines, used the same information to depict Clinton as being ethically challenged, even though the AP’s own donor reporting didn’t support that conclusion.

    Note that the AP’s blunder has been part of a renewed media frenzy about the foundation and its supposedly crooked ways. The press has defended its hyper-attention under the guise of conflict-of-interest concerns about the Clinton charity and Hillary Clinton’s possible presidency. But if the press suddenly can’t sleep at night knowing conflicts of interest might be lurking, why has almost nobody in the media asked if the Trump Foundation is going to be “shut down” if Donald Trump is elected president? Why has the Beltway press been virtually silent about the obvious conflicts looming if Trump hands over his sprawling business enterprise to his sons while he serves as president?

    Why is there always a separate, higher standard the Clintons have to meet? And why do news outlets like the Associated Press, and The New York Times, and ABC and CBS, routinely engage in dishonest endeavors in the name of chasing so-called Clinton scandals?

    As Dylan Byers announced last year at Politico, the D.C. press seems “primed to take down Hillary Clinton.” The AP did nothing this week to disrupt that claim.

  • Fox Host Tries, Fails To Convince Anyone That Trump Didn't Call Hillary Clinton A "Bigot"

    Karl Rove: “Go Back And Replay Your Own Piece Of Film. He Said Hillary Clinton Is A Bigot”

    Blog ››› ››› BRENDAN KARET

    Fox News’ Eric Bolling repeatedly suggested that Donald Trump was not personally calling Hillary Clinton a bigot during speeches, but was roundly rebuked on back-to-back segments with guests who had him replay the footage of Trump directly calling Clinton a “bigot.”

    In an exchange with Fox contributor Karl Rove, Bolling asked, “Well, Karl, is he calling Hillary Clinton a bigot?” Rove responded “Go back and replay your own piece of film. He said Hillary Clinton is a bigot.” From the August 25 edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor:

    ERIC BOLLING (GUEST HOST): He went and try and paint the picture -- draw a line between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton with the "bigot" line. 

    KARL ROVE: Yeah, but look, that's the opening part of the argument, look at what's happened to you for the last 60 or 70 years. But the second part of it is not to call her a bigot, but to say "Here is what I would do to make your life better." And it is in that second part that he advantages himself. He doesn't advantage himself by calling her a "bigot" in my opinion. It's unhelpful.

    BOLLING: Well Karl, is he calling Hillary Clinton a bigot? Because earlier today he said, and I'm quoting him --

    ROVE: No, no.

    BOLLING -- "Every policy HRC supports is a policy that has failed and betrayed communities of color." I understand it as --

    ROVE: That's fine --

    BOLLING: She's a Democrat, therefore -- but African-Americans aren't being helped under Democrats, and therefore they’re bigoted.

    ROVE: Eric, that's the kind of language you should have, not what he said last night. Go back and replay your own piece of film. He said Hillary Clinton is a bigot. Those are her words. Not mine. So, yeah, he did call her a bigot. That was a mistake.

    In a subsequent discussion with economist Austan Goolsbee, Bolling asked, “Is [Trump] saying she is a bigot, or is he saying the Democratic policies are bigoted?” Goolsbee replied “Well, when his quote was ‘Hillary Clinton is a bigot,’ I think he is saying Hillary Clinton is a bigot”:

    AUSTAN GOOLSBEE: You see him launching the "you're a bigot," and it kind of reminds me of the old, the first guy that accused everyone of being a cheater is the guy who's the cheater.

    ERIC BOLLING (GUEST HOST): Yeah, but Austan, later on -- earlier today, this was after the original bigot comment, earlier today he said -- and I'm quoting his words, "every policy that Hillary Clinton supports is a policy that has failed and betrayed communities of color." Is he saying she is a bigot, or is he saying the Democratic policies are bigoted?

    GOOLSBEE: Well, when his quote was "Hillary Clinton is a bigot," I think he is saying Hillary Clinton is a bigot.

  • CNN’s Corey Lewandowski Says He's Traveling With The Trump Campaign

    Lewandowski Announced On Twitter That He's With Trump In New Hampshire

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    CNN political commentator Corey Lewandowski announced in an August 25 tweet that he is with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his campaign in New Hampshire.

    Lewandowski was hired by CNN as a political commentator in June, just days after he was fired from Trump’s campaign. The move drew sharp criticism from media experts, who questioned the network’s ethics after it hired the former campaign manager, who was reported to have a hostile and inappropriate relationship with reporters. Lewandowski has simultaneously received both severance from Trump’s campaign and a salary from the network while appearing on air to campaign for and defend Trump from media criticism. He’s defended Trump on his alleged solicitations from foreign entities, his attacks on a Gold Star family, and even Trump’s claims that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya. It was reported this month that Lewandowski has returned to advising Trump despite his paid commentary position with CNN, and his firm was reportedly paid $20,000 by the campaign in July. In an open letter to CNN president Jeff Zucker, Media Matters president Bradley Beychok has called on Zucker to publicly address questions regarding the hiring of Lewandowski or suspend him from the network.

    From Lewandowski’s August 25 tweet:

     For information on Media Matters’ petition for CNN to cut ties with Lewandowski, please click here.

  • After Trump Calls Clinton A "Bigot," Cable News Pushes His Narrative

    Blog ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN

    Cable news outlets are giving oxygen to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s narrative that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is a “bigot” by repeatedly discussing his remarks and entertaining questions about whether Clinton is indeed a bigot. Several segments even whitewashed Trump’s history of racist remarks.

    During an August 24 rally in Mississippi, Trump claimed that Hillary Clinton is a “bigot” who “sees people of color only as votes, not as human beings worthy of a better future.” The remarks, which were prepared on his teleprompter, have also been repeatedly uttered by Trump over the last week.

    Trump’s remark drove a large portion of today’s cable TV coverage, which examined Trump’s claim in multiple segments, many without any critical pushback by hosts or reporters. While some segments were critical of Trump’s remarks, they still allowed Trump to drive the conversation. Other segments actually entertained Trump’s claim, including by allowing a Trump surrogate to baselessly claim that Clinton had used racist rhetoric toward African-Americans in the past and a Republican operative to praise Trump’s “rising” rhetoric.

    Some coverage whitewashed Trump’s history of racist rhetoric altogether. Discussing the remark with Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, CNN host Chris Cuomo agreed with Conway’s assertion that it was unfair for people to call Trump a bigot, saying, “When people call him a bigot, I’ll say, ‘why do you call him that,’” and adding, “They shouldn’t call him that” if they can’t justify it. In fact, Trump has repeatedly smeared Muslims, called Mexicans “rapists,” targeted a judge because of his Mexican heritage, discriminated against African-Americans, and courted the white nationalist movement. Some in the media have in fact explicitly urged colleagues to label Trump’s rhetoric “blatantly racist” in the interests of accuracy, and to stop mainstreaming his bigoted comments.

  • Everyone Is Noticing Trump's Newest Immigration Comments Mirror The Jeb Bush Plan He Mocked

    Blog ››› ››› JARED HOLT

    Media figures promptly began calling out the similarities between Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s newest immigration policy suggestions and policies Trump previously criticized Jeb Bush for pushing during the Republican primaries.

    During an August 24 town hall with Fox host Sean Hannity, Trump appeared to shift from his previous plan to “deport all undocumented immigrants,” as CNN put it. Trump told Hannity’s town hall that he would not grant undocumented immigrants citizenship, but that he would “work with them” if they “pay back taxes.”

    On the August 25 edition of Good Morning America, ABC’s Jon Karl remarked that Trump’s newfound position on immigration “sounds a heck of a lot like what Jeb Bush proposed during the Republican primaries,” which Karl said Trump attacked at the time as “amnesty.”

    The core of Trump’s newfound immigration policy bears strong resemblance to Bush’s prior proposals. In August 2015, Bush published a plan that would have required undocumented immigrants to “pass a thorough criminal background check, pay fines, pay taxes, learn English, obtain a provisional work permit and work, [and] not receive federal government assistance” in order to eventually earn “legal status” but not citizenship.

    At a Republican primary debate, Trump told moderators that Jeb Bush was “the weakest person on this stage by far on illegal immigration,” adding, “He is so weak on illegal immigration it’s laughable, and everybody knows it.” Additionally, on August 22, 2015, Trump tweeted:

    Other outlets have also noted the similarities between Trump’s newest position and Bush’s policy proposal. While discussing Trump’s most recent stance on immigration, Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough remarked, “Jeb Bush, your immigration stand has prevailed in the Republican Party.” NBC News reported that Trump’s new rhetoric is “not too different from Jeb Bush's rhetoric during the 2016 primary season.” Conservative website RedState announced, “That's right folks. Trump has adopted the very position he chastised Jeb Bush for having.” And CNN played a video montage comparing the two positions and noting “how similar Trump sounds” to Bush.