George W Bush says he 'does not like the racism' of the Donald Trump era

It is unusual for a former President to criticise, even implicitly, a successor

Tuesday 28 February 2017 11:28 GMT
Bush on Trump era: I don't like the racism and name-calling

George W Bush has said he “does not like the racism” of the Donald Trump era of politics, and described the right to worship without discrimination as "the bedrock of our freedom".

The former President had previously refused to criticise those who succeeded him but decided to raise issues with the current administration's immigration policies and Mr Trump's dealings with the media.

While promoting a new book of his paintings Mr Bush also stressed the importance of helping others.

“I don’t like the racism and I don’t like the name-calling and I don’t like the people feeling alienated,” Mr Bush told People.

Asked if he felt the need to play a leadership role, Mr Bush said he “didn’t want to complicate the job”.

“No. 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.

“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 Centre we are speaking up,” Mr Bush said.

During another interview the former President said power can be “addictive” and “corrosive” and stressed the need to have a free media.

“I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy,” Mr Bush said on the Today show.

“We need the media to hold people like me to account. I mean, 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, whether it be here or elsewhere.”

Mr Bush also seemed to criticise Mr Trump’s controversial travel ban which looked to stop people from seven predominantly Muslim countries entering the US.

“It’s very important for all of us to recognise one of our great strengths is for people to worship the way they want to or not worship at all,” he said.

“I mean the bedrock of our freedom — a bedrock of our freedom is the right to worship freely.”

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