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Story highlights

Donald Trump has previously accused Jeb Bush of making decisions because of his wife's Mexican heritage

Donald Trump says he was surprised that Jeb Bush did not push harder for an apology for his wife

(CNN) —  

Donald Trump said Thursday that Jeb Bush should have leaned on him harder to apologize to Columba, Bush’s wife.

The former Florida governor pressed Trump to say he was sorry in one of the most personal exchanges from CNN’s Republican presidential debate, but he let the real estate developer off the hook.

“I thought he was going to push me harder to apologize to his wife,” Trump told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Trump has previously accused Bush of making immigration policy decisions based on his wife Columba’s Mexican heritage. She has become a U.S. citizen.

“To subject my wife into the middle of a raucous political conversation was completely inappropriate, and I hope you apologize for that, Donald,” Bush said told Trump during the debate when he was asked about the real estate developer’s comments about Columba.

Bush then said his wife was sitting right there in the audience at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and turned to Trump to call on him to apologize to her directly.

But Trump shot back, “No, I won’t do that, because I’ve said nothing wrong” – and Bush dropped the matter, saying nothing further about it.

Bush told Fox News on Thursday morning that he was not surprised that Trump wouldn’t stand down “I think it would have been smart for him to apologize, but look, it’s Donald Trump. What can I tell you?”

“The simple fact is disparaging peoples family isn’t going to get him elected President of the United States,” Bush said. “I’m proud of my wife, she has been a great First Lady of the State of Florida. She focused on drug prevention, on domestic violence, on arts end education. She’s a great American. And to have all these dog whistle terms that make it sound like one group of Americans is different than the other, that’s not Reaganesque, that’s not America, that’s not good.”