Former President George W. Bush criticized the Republican Party for its lack of inclusivity, saying that if the GOP stands for “White Anglo-Saxon Protestantism, then it’s not going to win anything.”
Bush made the remark in a podcast interview with The Dispatch last week in response to a question about hard-right Republicans’ discussions about creating an America First Caucus” that would protect “Anglo-Saxon political traditions.”
Bush said he understands “the populist angst that comes with the immigration debate.”
“One reason I can see it is because I studied history and I, you know, I remember the Know-Nothing Party, fiercely anti-immigrant. I remember the immigration policy of the 20’s: ‘too many Jews and Italians.’ Therefore we had zero immigrants, except for, of course, on the Texas border, where immigrants were always coming in to help, you know, the cattle raisers and the farmers. But yeah, I fully understand it. And I don’t cast aspersion. But I also know that without those immigrants, the economies of those areas would be, you know, paltry,” he said.
Last month, Bush made headlines after he said the Republican Party in its current form is both “nativist” and “isolationist.”
“It’s not exactly my vision” for the party,” Bush said in an interview with NBC, calling the party “isolationist, protectionist, and to a certain extent, nativist.”
“I think if the emphasis is integrity and decency and trying to work to get problems solved, I think the person has a shot,” he said, expressing his hope that a more moderate wing could gain further power.
Bush has continued to distance himself from the Republican Party in the months since the 2020 general election, pushing back against his own party’s baseless claims, spurred by former President Donald Trump, that the election was fraudulent. That claim has continued to fuel the most extreme members of the party.
“The fact that so many of our fellow citizens participated in this election is a positive sign of the health of our democracy and a reminder to the world of its strength. No matter how you voted, your vote counted,” he said in November. “The American people can have confidence that this election was fundamentally fair, its integrity will be upheld, and its outcome is clear.”
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.