Almost unnoticed in Wednesday night’s GOP debate was the insult aimed by Jeb Bush at every activist Irish American who remembers the troubles in Northern Ireland.

Bush was asked a throwaway question: 'Which female he would put on the $10 bill?', as has been mooted by many in Congress.

His reply was astonishing. While other candidates made appropriate picks such as Rosa Parks and Susan B. Anthony, Bush threw a curve ball at Irish Americans everywhere with his pick.

"I would go with Ronald Reagan's partner: Margaret Thatcher," Bush said.

"A strong leader is what we need in the White House, and she certainly was a strong leader that restored the United Kingdom to greatness," he explained, but added that choosing a foreigner probably wouldn't fly with U.S law.

With that strange statement Bush surely offended anyone who cares deeply about peace in Ireland which includes millions of Irish Americans.

There are few figures more reviled by the Irish than Thatcher, especially after she allowed ten hunger strikers to die in Northern Ireland in 1981 and displayed callous disregard for their plight.

She once proclaimed Northern Ireland was “As British as Finchley,” a typical English town and Thatcher's parliamentary constituency, in a comment that showed incredible favoritism towards unionism during her tenure.

Father Sean MacManus, Irish watchdog on Capitol Hill, noted, “Maggie Thatcher is on record as regarding the Irish as, ‘shiftless, sniveling and spineless.’ And Peter Mandelson MP, former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, has testified that Thatcher stated to him in 1999: ‘I've got one thing to say to you, my boy … you can't trust the Irish they're all liars… liars, and that's what you have to remember so just don't forget it.’”

Some would say she signed off on the dirty war, the shoot-to-kill, the assassination of leading lawyer Pat Finucane, the collusion between state forces and Loyalist paramilitaries who murdered and killed helpless Catholics on many occasions.

And this is the woman Jeb would love to see on the $10 bill?

READ MORE: Which Irish American women could go on the $10 bill? 

Astonishing really because Bush is clearly a very bright guy and the most moderate of a pretty radical primary field.

He will have done himself no favors for his espousal of Thatcher, who once dismissed the Irish government from her office by announcing ”Out, Out, Out’ to their three proposals for bringing peace.

In fairness, it was Ronald Reagan who tempered her anti-Irish stance and had her eventually sign the Anglo-Irish Agreement, a vital stepping stone in 1985.

To put such a woman on an American banknote would be the greatest insult possible to the millions Irish Americans who trace their roots to fleeing famine, war and persecution and religious bigotry – something akin to what the American forces faced when fighting for independence the same way the Irish did.

Those immigrants would recognize exactly what Thatcher was: an imperialist, almost racist to the Irish and determined to keep them in their place.

READ MORE: Margaret Thatcher wanted to repartition Ireland, new files show

Again, what was Jeb thinking?

Perhaps George W. was the bright one after all!

And, as I’m at it, could Ted Cruz not think of the bust of any American hero for his Oval Office? His choice of Churchill once again revealed just how Anglophile elements of the GOP are. Has he ever heard of Abraham Lincoln or Thomas Jefferson?

Who do you think should go on the American $10 bill? Share your thoughts in the comment section, below.