Bush: GOP Is, 'to a Certain Extent, Nativist'

Former president asks for an end to the harsh rhetoric about immigrants
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2021 2:10 PM CDT
Bush: GOP Is, 'to a Certain Extent, Nativist'
Former President George W. Bush speaks during Rep. John Lewis' funeral service last July in Atlanta.   (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, Pool)

Former President George W. Bush delivered his strongest criticism yet of the Republican Party on Tuesday, essentially suggesting he doesn't recognize it anymore. He described the current GOP as "isolationist, protectionist, and to a certain extent, nativist," Politico reports. Bush made the comments in a live interview on NBC's Today show. His criticism of former President Trump was less direct. Bush agreed that a mainstream Republican—who supports limited gun control measures, for example—could win his party's presidential nomination in 2024. "I think if the emphasis is integrity and decency and trying to work to get problems solved," he said, "I think the person has a shot. ... But, you know, I'm just an old guy they put out to pasture," he added. More highlights:

  • Bush called the proliferation of misinformation in politics troubling. "I don’t know what we’re going to do about that," he said.
  • Bush expressed concern about women and girls in Afghanistan once US forces leave; he discussed the issue with President Biden before the withdrawal was announced. He said that progress has been made, and that the administration is counting on diplomacy, but added, "All I know is the Taliban, when they had the run of the place, they were brutal."
  • Bush has been making appearances to discuss a new book of his paintings of immigrants to the US, and he took part in a naturalization ceremony Tuesday in New York for front-line pandemic workers, per NBC.
  • He was critical of the political rhetoric around immigration and asked Congress to "quit trying to score political points" on the issue, per CNN. "I hope I can help set a tone that is more respectful about the immigrant, which may lead to reform of the system," he said, adding: "It’s a beautiful country we have. And yet, it's not beautiful when we condemn [and] call people names and scare people about immigration."
(More George W. Bush stories.)

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