George W. Bush has kept a relatively low political profile since leaving office, but he keeps making headlines while on a media blitz to promote his latest book of paintings. While not calling out former President Trump by name, Bush has made clear that he doesn't like the direction of the Republican party of late. Coverage:
- In an interview with People, Bush revealed that he voted not for Trump in 2020 but for Condoleezza Rice, his former secretary of state, as a write-in. "She knows it," said Bush. "But she told me she would refuse to accept the office." Trump's relations with the Bush family have soured after he went after the younger Bush's legacy as president and ridiculed brother Jeb on the campaign trail.
- Earlier this week, Bush went on the Today show and described the GOP as "isolationist, protectionist, and, to a certain extent, nativist," calling out anti-immigration rhetoric in particular, per NBC News. However, he walked that back a bit in his People interview. "Really what I should have said—there's loud voices who are isolationists, protectionists, and nativists," he said. "My concerns [are] about those -isms," he added, "but I painted with too broad a brush ... because by saying what I said, it excluded a lot of Republicans who believe we can fix the problem."
- Bush's new book, Out of Many, One, is a collection of portraits of immigrants, notes the Waco-Tribune Herald. "I said I didn't want to get back into politics," Bush tells the newspaper. "But I did think maybe one way of getting people to look at immigration in a new way was to paint some portraits and help tell these people's stories." Proceeds will go to charities that help immigrants resettle, per CBS News.
- In his NBC interview, Bush said he thinks the phrase "pro-immigration" isn't quite right for describing his views, notes CNN. "I think border enforcement with a compassionate touch. That's how I would put it. That's what immigration basically means, let's open up the borders." To Norah O'Donnell of CBS, he added: "I do want to say to Congress, please put aside all of the harsh rhetoric about immigration, please put aside trying to score political points on either side. I hope I can help set a tone that is more respectful about the immigrant, which may lead to reform of the system."
- At CNN, Veronica Stracqualursi writes that the above sentiments show that the 43rd president has become "estranged from the modern GOP." On Thursday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy dismissed Bush's criticism of the GOP as off base, adding that the party's congressional membership is more diverse than ever, per Insider. McCarthy said he'd like to have a discussion with Bush "to understand what his feelings are."
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