Through a uncommon interview on NBC’s “Today” show, former President George W. Bush -- who seldom commented on political challenges during Barack Obama’s presidency -- presented his critique of the Trump administration’s policies and the president's contentious partnership with the press. The nation's 43rd president was on the show to market his new book, “Portraits of Courage,” a series of paintings of wounded veterans.
Here are the important highlights from his interview:
Bush calls for answers on probable connections among Russia and Trump campaign
Bush said he supports an investigation that explores attainable hyperlinks among Russia and the Trump campaign.
“I believe we all will need answers,” Bush told Matt Lauer.
Bush, nevertheless, did not say no matter whether or not a specific prosecutor is necessary to conduct an investigation, instead leaning on any recommendation that comes from Senate Intelligence Chairman Sen. Richard Burr.
”I'm not confident the ideal avenue to take. I am positive, even though, that that question desires to be answered,” he added.
Bush defends the media as a verify on "addictive" power
Bush critiqued Trump’s feud with the media, calling it “indispensable to democracy.”
“Power can be pretty addictive. And it can be corrosive. And it's crucial for the media to get in touch with to account individuals who abuse their power.”
Bush stated that throughout his time as president he attempted to convince Russian President Vladimir Putin of the importance of an independent press.
Bush on Trump’s immigration policy
When asked if the Trump administration’s executive order banning the immigration of men and women from seven Muslim majority countries makes it tougher for the United States to fight terrorism, Bush replied, “It's hard to fight the war on terrorism if we're in retreat. And I feel we learned that lesson.”
“If the United States decides to pull out before a absolutely free society emerges, it is going to be hard to defeat them," he stated. "The enemy is extremely excellent about exploiting weakness. It's going to be important. If that's the aim, to defeat ISIS, which I think it should really be, that we project strength. Now, no matter whether or not the domestic politics plays aids them or not.”
When pressed by Lauer if he supports Trump’s ban, Bush wouldn’t give a definitive "yes" or ‘no.”
“I'm for an immigration policy that is welcoming and upholds the law,” he answered.
Bush reflects on the divisions facing the country
Bush laughed at Trump’s description of “carnage” across America but noted the divisions facing the nation.
“We have been quite divided when I was president right immediately after a though. We were united just after 9/11,” he stated. “Some of this will burn out, but it demands all of us understanding how the other person thinks.”
But as divided as the country may well seem, Bush pointed out that divisions had been “much worse" through the 1960s.
When asked how Trump can assistance heal these divisions, he stated give the president some time.
“First of all, there's only been one month in workplace," Bush said. "Secondly, I feel you have to take the man for his word that he wants to unify the nation. We'll see if he's in a position to do so. It is really hard to unify the country with the news media getting so split up.”
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