George W. Bush Rejects Trump Policies: ‘I Don’t Like the Racism’
Former President George W. Bush, who was widely praised for almost never criticizing Barack Obama during his presidency, blasted President Donald Trump for his “racism” and for the “ugly” political climate in Washington, DC.
“I don’t like the racism and I don’t like the name-calling and I don’t like the people feeling alienated,” Bush said in an interview with People. “Nobody likes that.”
Bush, who was interviewed with his wife Laura, said politics in the nation’s capital have become “pretty ugly” but said he believed better days will come. “I’m optimistic about where we’ll end up,” he said. “We’ve been through these periods before and we’ve always had a way to come out of it. I’m more optimistic than some.”
The 43rd president said he did not plan on seeking a more public role during these contentious times. “When President Obama got elected, friends would call: ‘You must speak out! You must do this, you must do that.’ Turns out, other people are doing the same thing this time,” said Bush. “I didn’t feel like speaking out before because I didn’t want to complicate the job and I’m not going to this time. However, at the Bush Center we are speaking up.”
The George W. Bush Presidential Center promotes policies and actions that stand in stark contrast to some of the most important elements of Trump’s presidency. It is staunchly pro-immigrant, arguing the benefits of admitting more people to the United States outweigh the costs. Conversely, critics say the Trump administration has positioned itself as one of the most anti-immigrant in generations.
Appearing on NBC’s Today on Monday to promote his new book of paintings of veterans titled “Portraits of Courage,” Bush diverged from Trump’s exclusive immigration policies. “I am for an immigration policy that is welcoming and upholds the law,” he said. He also opposed the president’s overturned ban on people from seven Muslim-majority nations. “A bedrock of our freedom is the right to worship freely,” Bush said when asked about Trump’s travel ban.
Bush also seemed to obliquely criticize what critics are calling Trump’s “war on the press,” defending the media as “indispensable to democracy.”
“We need an independent media to hold people like me to account,” Bush told host Matt Lauer. “Power can be very addictive and it can be corrosive, and it’s important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power.” Bush added that he worked hard trying to convince Russian President Vladimir Putin to allow a freer press, and that “it’s kind of hard to tell others to have an independent free press when we’re not willing to have one ourselves.”