NEW YORK, N.Y. — Former president George W. Bush has emerged from relative seclusion to give current president Donald Trump a verbal lashing on his handling of the Oval Office.
Bush, during a speech at the George W. Bush Institute on Thursday, indirectly accused Trump of everything from endorsing white supremacy to elitism.
“Our identity as a nation, unlike other nations, is not determined by geography or ethnicity, by soil or blood. … This means that people from every race, religion, ethnicity can be full and equally American,” he told attendees at the event in New York City. “It means that bigotry and white supremacy, in any form, is blasphemy against the American creed.”
“We’ve seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty,” Bush added. “Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions, forgetting the image of God we should see in each other.”
While the former president did not mention Trump by name, he made it clear exactly who his comments were directed toward.
“We cannot wish globalism away,” Bush continued, adding that the United States must sustain “wise and sustained global engagement” if the country is to be saved. “We’ve seen a return of isolationist sentiments forgetting that American security is directly threatened by the chaos and despair of distant places.”
From there, the 43rd president went on to accuse the current leader of the free world of being a naive bigot and a liar.
“We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism, and forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America,” Bush said. “Bigotry seems emboldened, our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication,” he said. “There are some signs that support for democracy itself has waned especially for the young.”
In one of his most scathing comments, Bush essentially called Trump out to be nothing more than a tyrant in disguise.
“No democracy pretends to be a tyranny. Most tyrannies pretend they are democracies,” he said. “Democracy remains the definition of political legitimacy. That has not changed, and that will not change.”
Citing the rise of “bullying and prejudice” in today’s political climate, Bush said the country lacked a positive political role model and then lamented against the ongoing allegations of Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential election.
“The Russian government has made a project of turning Americans against each other,” he said, adding that while Russian interference will not succeed, “foreign aggressions, including cyberattacks, disinformation, and financial influence, should never be downplayed or tolerated.”
The two-term president, who’s remained primarily in the shadows since leaving office, urged the American people to “step up” the fight in what he said he sees as a dangerous time for the United States. “We need to recall and recover our own identity,” he urged.