ABC’s Tom Llamas Still Upset over ‘Anchor Baby’ Term; Scolds Jeb for ‘Bombastic Language’

Continuing to be incensed over the use of the term “anchor baby” by Republican presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Donald Trump, ABC News correspondent Tom Llamas took the airwaves on Thursday’s World News Tonight to scold Bush for “bombastic language” and replay his attack on Trump for using the “offensive term.”

After highlighting how Bush and Trump had dueling events in New Hampshire the night before, Llamas hyped that “both candidates today [are] facing questions about why they use the term ‘anchor babies’ to describe American born children of undocumented immigrants.”

Llamas provided a brief refresher for viewers on the definition of “anchor baby” and proceeded to remind them of his confrontation with Trump on Wednesday night as he asked the billionaire: “Are you aware that the term anchor baby, that's an offensive term. People find that hurtful?”

The correspondent and Sunday World News Tonight anchor shifted his anger over to Bush, first mentioning that “[j]ust two years ago, Bush chaired a Hispanic outreach group that sent a memo to Capitol Hill suggesting conservatives don’t use the term ‘anchor baby.’” 

Lamenting that “now he’s defending it,” Llamas pointedly chastised Bush during a press availability on Thursday: “Anchor baby. Is that not bombastic language?”

Not surprisingly, Llamas also carried water for the Clinton campaign in his report, touting a Twitter post from the former secretary of state: 

Hillary Clinton later offering up suggestions on Twitter, tweeting: “How about “babies,” “children,” or “American citizens?” She’s clearly seizing the Republican battle which, if Donald Trump has his way, won’t end anytime soon.

Fellow network NBC Nightly News also made light of the term through the context of the Bush-Trump feud as anchor Lester Holt told in a tease of “[f]ighting words” between the two while they simultaneously are “caught in an uproar over birthright citizenship and the use of a term a lot of people find offensive.”

Senior White House correspondent Chris Jansing had a full story on the so-called controversy, noting that Trump’s “unapologetically using the term the dictionary calls ‘offensive’ to describe undocumented immigrants who come to the U.S. to have babies hoping it will help them eventually become citizens.” 

Jansing also tried to paint Bush as a hypocrite for using the term since “his wife Columbo was born in Mexico.” When pushed by reporters (with ABC’s Llamas being one of them), Jansing determined that “the usually controlled Bush” was launched “into a testy exchange with reporters.”

Also promoting the Clinton tweet, Jansing concluded that “[t]he infighting” in the GOP “also helps to divert some attention away from Clinton's own troubles over e-mails and a new poll that shows 53 percent of Democrats want Joe Biden to run against her.”

The transcript of the segment from ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir on August 20 is transcribed below.

ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir
August 20, 2015
6:37 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: Battle Lines]

DAVID MUIR: In the meantime tonight, next, to the race for 2016 and the face off tonight between two top Republicans. The gloves are coming off. Donald Trump and what he said about Jeb Bush supporters that they’re asleep. Also going head to head on those 11 million undocumented immigrants. Meantime, Trump on the cover of Time magazine tonight. The quote right there, “[d]eal with it.” ABC's Tom Llamas from New Hampshire.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Trump vs. Bush; Gloves Come Off in Republican Race]

TOM LLAMAS: Tonight, the battle between Donald Trump and Jeb Bush is getting ugly. 

DONALD TRUMP: You know what's happening to Jeb's crowd as you know right down the street? They're sleeping. They're sleeping now. 

LLAMAS: Immigration center stage. Trump vowing to deport all 11 million undocumented immigrants. 

TRUMP: We’re going to get them out so fast and so quick and it's going to be tough. It not going to be like, “oh please, will you please come with us? Please, will you come, please with us?”

LLAMAS: Now, Bush firing right back. 

JEB BUSH: There should be a little more focus on solving the problems rather than just kind of coming in like a tidal wave and saying things that are just outrageous and don't make sense. 

LLAMAS: But both candidates today facing questions about why they use the term “anchor babies” to describe American born children of undocumented immigrants. The implication? Parents have the children to anchor themselves in the U.S. so they're not deported. [TO TRUMP] Are you aware that the term anchor baby, that's an offensive term. People find that hurtful? 

TRUMP: You mean it's not politically correct and yet everybody uses it? 

LLAMAS: Just two years ago, Bush chaired a Hispanic outreach group that sent a memo to Capitol Hill suggesting conservatives don’t use the term “anchor baby,” but now, he’s defending it. [TO BUSH] Anchor baby. Is that not bombastic language?

BUSH: Now, look., listen, give me another word. 

LLAMAS: Hillary Clinton later offering up suggestions on Twitter, tweeting: “How about “babies,” “children,” or “American citizens?” She’s clearly seizing the Republican battle which, if Donald Trump has his way, won’t end anytime soon. David, tomorrow, Trump set to hold his biggest rally ever in Mobile, Alabama. The campaign started with the space that held 1,000 people. They have held it now to a stadium that holds 40,000. The campaign hoping to fill it. David? 

MUIR: Tom Llamas with us again tonight. Tom, thank you.

NBDaily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Immigration Media Bias Debate Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats ABC World News Tonight NBC NBC Nightly News Video David Muir Lester Holt Chris Jansing Tom Llamas Donald Trump Jeb Bush Hillary Clinton
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