Former President George W. Bush described the modern-day GOP as “isolationist, protectionist, and to a certain extent, nativist” in an interview Tuesday that was packed with implicit criticism of the most recent Republican president.
“It’s not exactly my vision” for the party, Bush told NBC’s “Today” show in a rare live TV appearance. “But, you know, I’m just an old guy they put out to pasture.”
Still, Bush remained hopeful that a more moderate Republican — one who supported reasonable gun reform measures, increased public school funding and a path to citizenship for undocumented workers, among other measures — could succeed in the party’s 2024 presidential primary.
“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.
Bush, who was on hand to welcome 30 new U.S. citizens from 17 different countries during a naturalization ceremony on Rockefeller Plaza, also decried the divisive rhetoric that has surrounded the immigration debate in Washington — and reached new levels of hostility under former President Donald Trump.
“It’s a beautiful country we have. And yet, it’s not beautiful when we condemn [and] call people names and scare people about immigration,” he said. “It’s an easy issue to frighten some of the electorate. And I’m trying to have a different kind of voice.”
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