Former President George W. Bush reflected on the presidential election Tuesday and cautioned against anger influencing political policy, CNN reported.
Speaking in Dallas, Bush acknowledged that economic anxiety and voters who were “sick and tired of the status quo” pushed President-elect Donald Trump to victory — though Bush did not mention Trump by name.
“I understand anger, and some people may have been angry when I was president. But anger shouldn’t drive policy,” Bush said. “What needs to drive policy is what’s best for the people who are angry.”
Bush has been reticent about discussing Trump in public. The 43rd president declined to endorse the GOP nominee or vote for him on Election Day. Bush’s brother Jeb, who was himself a presidential candidate during the Republican primary, was a more outspoken critic of Trump and similarly refused to endorse or vote for him.
Their father, former president George H.W. Bush, voted for Hillary Clinton, according sources cited by CNN in September.
During his presidency, George W. Bush was a strong proponent of international trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement — an issue Trump has railed against during his campaign.
Trump’s appeal to voters in economically strained regions of the country was boosted by his promises to fight trade deals that he said forced American jobs to be outsourced to foreign countries.
Despite their policy differences, Bush remained pragmatic and warned that a former US president should not disparage those elected after him.
“I don’t think it’s helpful for the country to have a former president criticise successors. It’s a hard job to begin with and I really don’t think it helps to make it any harder,” Bush said.
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