George W. Bush just called Donald Trump out for alienating Americans, racism, and name-calling.
In a segment of a People magazine interview that will hit newsstands on Friday, former President Bush spoke about the atmosphere under Trump after his “rocky” first month, “I don’t like the racism and I don’t like the name-calling and I don’t like the people feeling alienated.”
And showing that activism isn’t just a Democratic thing and it’s also not a nasty thing, the former President said, “There’s a lot of ways to speak out, but it’s really through actions defending the values important to Laura and me… We’re a blessed nation, and we ought to help others.”
What is the point of discussing what a former Republican president thinks? Well, it’s vital to note that decency didn’t used to be a partisan issue.
The things modern Republicans screech about, the outrage they howl over minorities and socially disadvantaged people wanting protections, the overt fear-mongering about people with brown skin, the prideful scorn and contempt for empathy and uplifting activism, these things are not normal.
What we have here is a party in the dredges of itself, a party so bereft of ideas that it is hanging out with the most contemptible people in society. Those people elevate nastiness, cruelty, and stupidity.
Not all Republicans are like that, and it used to be that we disagreed about policy and ideology, but agreed on universal things like not elevating racism from the White House, even when policies quietly divided.
Those days are over. We now have Republican values that even the last Republican president, who was quite a partisan in his time, can’t get behind. No matter what we thought of Bush’s policies, he was never a person who deliberately elevated hate. His policies sometimes enacted abuse against minorities, but he wasn’t proud of that. He didn’t preach it like it was a gospel.
Yes, Bush led us into a war with a sovereign nation that was not directly behind 9/11. But when it came to leading the country on moral issues, Bush was no hater. And that matters.
This is who the Republican Party used to be, and this matters because it lays to waste the absurd, childish argument that opponents of Trump are partisan “Obama people”.
Not true. Not true at all. There are plenty of people who abhor the racism and name-calling identified with the Trump movement. Some of them even have the courage to speak up, like former President George W. Bush.
Here is George W. Bush’s speech after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, because words matter. Read it and weep for what the Republican Party has become:
“Thank you all very much for your hospitality. We’ve just had a — wide-ranging discussions on the matter at hand. Like the good folks standing with me, the American people were appalled and outraged at last Tuesday’s attacks. And so were Muslims all across the world. Both Americans and Muslim friends and citizens, tax-paying citizens, and Muslims in nations were just appalled and could not believe what we saw on our TV screens.
These acts of violence against innocents violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith. And it’s important for my fellow Americans to understand that.
The English translation is not as eloquent as the original Arabic, but let me quote from the Koran, itself: In the long run, evil in the extreme will be the end of those who do evil. For that they rejected the signs of Allah and held them up to ridicule.
The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don’t represent peace. They represent evil and war.
When we think of Islam we think of a faith that brings comfort to a billion people around the world. Billions of people find comfort and solace and peace. And that’s made brothers and sisters out of every race — out of every race.
America counts millions of Muslims amongst our citizens, and Muslims make an incredibly valuable contribution to our country. Muslims are doctors, lawyers, law professors, members of the military, entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, moms and dads. And they need to be treated with respect. In our anger and emotion, our fellow Americans must treat each other with respect.
Women who cover their heads in this country must feel comfortable going outside their homes. Moms who wear cover must be not intimidated in America. That’s not the America I know. That’s not the America I value.
I’ve been told that some fear to leave; some don’t want to go shopping for their families; some don’t want to go about their ordinary daily routines because, by wearing cover, they’re afraid they’ll be intimidated. That should not and that will not stand in America.
Those who feel like they can intimidate our fellow citizens to take out their anger don’t represent the best of America, they represent the worst of humankind, and they should be ashamed of that kind of behavior.
This is a great country. It’s a great country because we share the same values of respect and dignity and human worth. And it is my honor to be meeting with leaders who feel just the same way I do. They’re outraged, they’re sad. They love America just as much as I do.
I want to thank you all for giving me a chance to come by. And may God bless us all.”
Image: Then President George W Bush photographed performing an act of service during his presidency – you know, like leaders used to do, “Working alongside volunteers, President George W. Bush lends a hand in repairing the Old Boney Trail at the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Aug. 15, 2003.”
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.