U.S. presidential candidate Jeb Bush has apologized to France, saying he did a “disservice to the French” when he compared rival Marco Rubio’s senate voting record to the French working week.
The former Governor for Florida says, “I made the mistake of saying that the Congress operates on a French work week,” adding he has since learned “the French work longer hours than the Germans do”.
“So, my God, I totally insulted an entire country – our first ally – that helped us become free as a nation!” he says.
Bush made the original comments about Rubio and the French work ethic during last week’s Republican presidential debate, asking Rubio if the Senate ran on French work time by lawmakers only having to show up for work three days per week.
Bush campaign spokesman Tim Miller says since the debate, he has been inundated with requests from French journalists wanting further comment from his boss.
Even the French ambassador to the U.S., Gerard Araud, responded on Twitter to correct Bush, saying that French workers officially work a 35-hour week, with many employees putting in far longer hours.
The French work week comments are not Bush’s only foot in the mouth comment about working hours. In July, he drew fire when he said in order to grow the economy “people need to work longer hours”
“My aspiration for the country and I believe we can achieve it, is 4 percent growth as far as the eye can see. Which means we have to be a lot more productive, workforce participation has to rise from its all-time modern lows. It means that people need to work longer hours and, through their productivity, gain more income for their families. That’s the only way we’re going to get out of this rut that we’re in,” he said.
Those comments drew fire from Labor unions and the Democrats with the Democratic National Committee calling Bush’s comments as “easily one of the most out-of-touch comments we’ve heard so far this cycle.”