- Former President George W. Bush, a Republican, gave his most pointed remarks so far during Trump’s presidency on Thursday.
- He spoke about Russian influence in the 2016 election, white supremacy, and waning support for democracy.
- “Bigotry seems emboldened,” he said. “Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication.”
Former President George W. Bush delivered what were his most pointed remarks during President Donald Trump’s tenure in office Thursday during an event at his namesake institute in New York City.
At an event branded as the “George W. Bush initiative on freedom, free markets, and security,” which also featured speakers such as former first lady Laura Bush, former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, and United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, Bush strongly condemned the current state of American politics.
“In recent decades, public confidence in our institutions has declined, our governing class has often been paralysed in the face of obvious and pressing needs,” the 43rd president said. “The American dream of upward mobility seems out of reach for some who feel left behind in a changing economy. Discontent deepened and sharpened partisan conflicts. Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication.”
Seeming to point at some factions on the left, Bush said he sees signs “that the intensity of support for democracy has waned, especially for the young, who never experienced the galvanizing moral clarity of the Cold War, or never focused on the ruin of entire nations by socialist central planning.”
“Some would call this democratic de-consolidation,” he said. “Really it seems to be a combination of weariness, frayed tempers, and forgetfulness.”
Bush also blasted some of the emerging elements of the far right, which presented themselves most prominently at the August rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia, that turned violent, with a counterprotester getting killed by a white supremacist.
The former president said “people of every race, religion, and ethnicity can be fully and equally American” and that “bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed.”
He also made mention of Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election, calling on the US to “harden its own defences.”
“Our country must show resolve and resilience in the face of external attacks on our democracy,” he said. “And that begins with confronting a new era of cyber threats. America has experienced a sustained attempt by a hostile power to feed and exploit our country’s divisions.”
“According to our intelligence services, the Russian government has made a project of turning Americans against each other,” he continued. “This effort is broad, systemic, and stealthy. It’s conducted across a range of social media platforms. Ultimately, this assault won’t succeed. But foreign aggressions including cyber attacks, disinformation, and financial influence should never be downplayed or tolerated.”
Watch some of his remarks:
Former Pres. George W Bush: “Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication.” pic.twitter.com/rkXYaddwMQ
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) October 19, 2017
George W. Bush on Russian election interference: “This effort is broad, systemic, and stealthy…but ultimately, this effort won’t succeed.” pic.twitter.com/PosppNVMys
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) October 19, 2017
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