Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said this week that he doesn’t think the Washington Redskins should change their name, adding he doesn’t believe the pro football team’s name is offensive to Native Americans.
“I don’t think they should change it,” he said in an interview with ABC’s Rick Klein and ESPN’s Andy Katz. “But again, I don’t think politicians ought to have any say in that to be honest with you. I don’t find it offensive. Native American tribes generally don’t find it offensive.
In recent years the team has faced pressure from local and national political leaders and activist groups to change the name, which they say is a derogatory term for Native Americans. Among them, President Obama, who called for changing it in an interview with the Associated Press. “If I were the owner of the team and I knew that there was a name of my team — even if it had a storied history — that was offending a sizable group of people, I’d think about changing it.”
Earlier this year, the Obama Administration blocked efforts to bring the team, which currently plays in Maryland, back to Washington, D.C. over concerns about the name.
Bush also said he “never quite understood what the big fuss was” over allegations that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady schemed to deflate footballs, and called on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to adopt a more transparent approach to leading the league.
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz criticized Bush in a statement, lumping it with recent controversial comments about minorities.
“Jeb Bush’s support of the Washington football team’s name and mascot is extremely insulting to Native American people and is one of many reasons he will not earn the Native American vote,” she said. “The team’s name is a racial slur that perpetuates negative stereotypes of Native American people, and reduces proud cultures to an insulting caricature.”
“Over the past few weeks, Jeb Bush has shown a shocking disregard for America’s diverse society,” she added. “First, during an exchange about immigration from Latin America, he slurred American children born in this country to immigrants. Then, he clarified that the offensive term he used was, ‘frankly, more related to Asian people.’ Last week, he insulted African-Americans, implying that they only voted for Democrats because of ‘free stuff,’ and also said America should not have a multicultural society. So much for the Republican Party’s plan to appeal to minorities.”
The audio, courtesy of “The Arena” on “SiriusXM’s P.O.T.U.S. channel,” is below: