Former President George W. Bush was never a fan of Donald Trump’s. Part of that has to do with the way he unceremoniously disposed of his brother, Jeb Bush, early in the 2016 Republican Party primary, but much of it is on principle.
Like many GOP elder statesmen, Bush did not appreciate Trump’s blathering pugilistic rhetorical style or his phony opportunistic populism, and both he and his father refused to endorse him in the general election.
But he didn’t join the chorus of Never Trumpers, either, despite the fact that his former political and intellectual allies formed the core of that movement. As he did during President Obama’s time in office, President Bush chose not to interfere with the course of events by injecting his opinions, let alone organizing behind the scenes.
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Once President Trump took office, however, the 43rd president has proven much more willing to speak out against the dangers the current occupant of the White House represents.
Speaking in New York in October of 2017, Bush attacked President Trump without naming him, telling the audience, “Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrications.”
Later in that speech, speaking about the scourge of growing violence and hate speech by the alt right, he said, “People of every race, religion, and ethnicity can be fully and equally American. It means that bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed.”
Bush entered the fray again Thursday with more pointed language directed at his Republican successor. Speaking at a global summit in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, he directed his fire at Trump’s assault on immigrants, particularly his refusal to protect DACA “DREAMers” from probable deportation.
“America’s their home,” he said. “They’ve got to get it fixed.”
“There are people willing to do jobs that Americans won’t do,” he added. “Americans don’t want to pick cotton at 105 degrees, but there are people who want put food on their family’s tables and are willing to do that. We ought to say thank you and welcome them.”
Bush also refuses to carry water for President Trump when it comes to Russia. He told his hosts, “there’s pretty clear evidence that the Russians meddled” in the 2016 presidential election, a claim that flies in the face of Trump’s consistent refusal to criticize the Kremlin or condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin for orchestrating the hacking and fake news operation he benefitted from.
Bush wasn’t done. Speaking specifically of Putin, he observed that the Russian dictator, “has a chip on his shoulder.”
“The reason he does is because of the demise of the Soviet Union troubles him. Therefore, much of his moves (are) to regain Soviet hegemony.”
It may, perhaps, be premature to welcome George W. Bush to the resistance, but whenever a Republican of his stature is willing to call Putin and Russia out for undermining our Democracy, and stand up to President Trump for his failure to live up to the standards of the office, it deserves our coverage, and our appreciation.