Former President George W. Bush on Wednesday warned against an "isolationist tendency" in the US that he called dangerous to national security, at a time when President Trump has faced questions about his administration's commitment to the country's international partnerships, reports the AP. The 43rd president was speaking at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., to promote his volume of paintings of military veterans titled, "Portraits of Courage." Bush's remarks come at a time when Europeans have been skittish that Trump may promote isolationist policies, though Vice President Mike Pence has reassured allies in Europe about the US' commitment to NATO and its willingness to maintain its ties around the globe.
Bush, 70, said it was not his intent to criticize his successors and he is optimistic about the future. "I don't want to make the president's job worse," he said. But he also alluded to the Iraq War, and warned there is a lesson "when the United States decides not to take the lead and withdraw," an apparent critique of former President Obama. "Vacuums can be created when US presence recedes and that vacuum is generally filled with people who don't share the ideology, the same sense of human rights and human dignity and freedom that we do," he added. Bush also echoed remarks he made earlier this week stressing the importance of an accurate, independent press but said they weren’t meant to criticize Trump.