Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
Former President George W. Bush quietly sat out the Obama years, even as former President Barack Obama staked out the moral high ground to run roughshod over conservative values.
Given that W. could rarely be bothered to mount a defense for himself for eight long years as the liberal media butchered him unmercifully, many chalked this up to just a strange peculiarity about a man who took to oil painting after his presidency.
But suddenly, when it comes to the influences former President Donald Trump has had on the Republican Party, Bush has found his voice. And not in a good way.
Bush was asked Tuesday during an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show to describe the Republican Party as he sees it today.
“I would describe it as isolationist, protectionist, and to a certain extent nativist,” he said, capturing a number of key terms thrown at Trump for four years.
Host Hoda Kotb asked Bush if he was disappointed, and he replied: “Well, it’s not exactly my vision, but I am just an old guy they put out to pasture. So, just a simple painter.”
Trump ushered in an “America First” agenda, arguing that we have challenges of our own currently that need to be addressed for the good of our nation.
An agenda embraced by some GOP members, who looked to form a caucus of like-minded lawmakers before apparently abandoning the idea amid pushback from party leadership, who bought into the liberal interpretation of putting country first.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., was critical of the caucus, which reportedly pushed “common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions.”
(The dirty little secret here that the left shies away from is that America was founded on Anglo-Saxon principles.)
“The Republican Party is the party of Lincoln & the party of more opportunity for all Americans — not nativist dog whistles,” McCarthy tweeted on Friday.
Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney, the third-ranking House Republican, said the GOP is a party of “equal opportunity” and “tolerance,” adding that it rejects “racism, nativism, and anti-Semitism.”
Some argue that Bush set the stage for the toxic media environment Trump would inherit, having allowed it to go unchecked throughout his time in the White House. While Bush was busy trying to establish himself as one who takes the high road, the media honed its skills on driving public opinion and taking down a GOP president.
Kotb threw out a hypothetical that sounded eerily like Bush’s younger brother, Jeb, to ask if that type of candidate would “have a shot in 2024.”
The hypothetical GOP candidate she envisioned was “pro-immigration, pro-path to citizenship for undocumented workers, pro-DACA, pro-reasonable gun control, pro-education funding for public schools.”
“Sure, yeah,” the former president replied. “I think so. I think it depends upon the emphasis. I think if the emphasis is integrity and decency and trying to work to get problems solved. I think the person has a shot, yeah.”
Bush then served up a helping of the “compassionate conservativism” that marked his time in office
“By the way, I think pro-immigration is not the right way to put it,” he said. “I think border enforcement with a compassionate touch. That’s how I would put it,” adding that “you can’t have a country that has open borders.”
When pressed on whether he has ever been tempted to criticize a predecessor, Bush hinted toward successor Barack Obama, saying, “If I did, Michelle Obama might not be my friend.”
After they gushed over his friendship with Mrs. Obama, Kotb turned to the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol, asking Bush what he was thinking as he looked on.
“It kind of made me sick. Not ‘kind of made me sick,’ it did make me sick. I felt ill — I just could not believe it,” Bush said. “But the truth of the matter is, I was optimistic that we would survive that because I believe so strongly in the institution and stability of our country. And it did survive. Congress met, ratified the election. The courts met and are still meeting today to hold people to account for storming the Capitol.”
“What’s really troubling is how much misinformation there is and the capacity of the people to spread all kinds of untruths,” he continued. “I don’t know what we are going to do about that. I know what I am doing about it. I don’t do Twitter, Facebook or any of that stuff.”
Ironically, the appearance comes the day after officials announced that Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick suffered two strokes and died of natural causes, not because of the actions of protesters that day.
The Washington, D.C. chief medical examiner taking over three months to make the call — after Democrats and the media milked officer Sicknick’s death for every ounce of political value to push a false narrative.
The media reported that Sicknick was “bludgeoned to death” with a fire extinguisher and the officer’s death was a factor in the media calling the protest a “murderous riot.”
Bush had nothing to say about this development.
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