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George W Bush slams 'bullying and prejudice'

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    Posted: October 19 2017 at 3:19pm
Former US president George W Bush has denounced "bullying and prejudice" in a speech in New York, which appeared to be a sweeping, thinly veiled critique of President Donald Trump.

Key points:

  • Mr Bush spoke of bullying, nativism, and a decline in public confidence in the US
  • Mr Bush did not mention Mr Trump by name, but attacked some of his principles
  • His spokesman said Mr Bush had discussed the issues "for years"

Mr Bush, 71, used the rare public address to discuss nationalism, racial divisions and Russia's intervention in the 2016 election — all flashpoints of his fellow Republican's nine-month White House tenure.

He did not mention Mr Trump by name, but attacked some of the principles that define the 45th president's political brand.

"Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, and compromises the moral education of children," Mr Bush said at the Bush Institute's National Forum on Freedom, Free Markets and Security.

"The only way to pass along civic values is to first live up to them."

Mr Trump has used nicknames to demean opponents, such as "Crooked Hillary" for Democrat Hillary Clinton and, more recently, "Liddle" Bob Corker for a Republican senator who dared to challenge him.

Mr Bush, president from 2001-2009, also emphasised the importance of immigration and international trade — two policy areas that Mr Trump has cracked down on while in office.

"We've seen nationalism distorted into nativism, forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America," he said.

"We see a fading confidence in the value of free markets and international trade, forgetting that conflict, instability, and poverty follow in the wake of protectionism."

Bush maintains speech was not aimed at Trump

Asked whether the speech was aimed at Mr Trump, a spokesman for Mr Bush said the long-planned remarks echoed themes the former president had discussed for years.

"The themes president Bush spoke about today are really the same themes he has spoken about for the last two decades," Bush spokesman Freddy Ford said.

Mr Bush touted US alliances abroad, something Mr Trump has called into question, and denounced white supremacy, which critics have previously accused Mr Trump of failing to do quickly and explicitly this year.

In the speech, Mr Bush described a decline in public confidence in US institutions and a paralysis in the governing class to address pressing needs.

"Discontent deepened and sharpened partisan conflicts. Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication," Mr Bush said.

Mr Trump was a longtime proponent of a false theory that Democratic former President Barack Obama was not born in the United States. Mr Obama, Mr Trump's predecessor, was born in the US state of Hawaii.

Mr Bush said Americans were the heirs of Thomas Jefferson, the third US president, as well as civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

"This means that people of every race, religion, and ethnicity can be fully and equally American," he said.

"It means that bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed."

Mr Bush is the brother of 2016 presidential hopeful Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor nicknamed, belittled and ultimately vanquished by Mr Trump during the race for the Republican nomination.

He joins a slowly growing list of prominent Republicans who have publicly defied Mr Trump, including Republican senator John McCain, who delivered a similar speech this week.

Mr Trump said he had not seen the speech.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 20 2017 at 6:09am
He is not the only one, Obama did too.  This is, to say the very least, unusual.  It might be unique.

Bush, Obama blasts will be water off Trump's back



Updated 1054 GMT (1854 HKT) October 20, 201

(CNN)The Presidents club is turning on its newest member.

Breaking the code of silence that retired commanders in chief normally maintain about their successors, both George W. Bush and Barack Obama delivered clear jabs at the current occupant of the Oval Office on Thursday.
President Donald Trump, however, likely didn't feel a thing. His entire political brand stands as a living rebuke to the political establishment that both men once led and to the traditionalists who believe his behavior is eroding the prestige of the presidency itself.
    While neither Bush nor Obama mentioned Trump by name or referred to his claims this weekthat he had been more attentive to relatives of slain US service members than they were, they used coincidental events to register their alarm with Trump's politics.
    In New York, Bush delivered a strong indictment of Trump's populist nationalism, condemning trade protectionism and bemoaning how politics had fallen prey to "conspiracy theories" and "outright fabrication." He also warned of the impact of "bullying and prejudice" in public life. It was not hard to work out who he was talking about in one of his most vehement interventions in politics since he left office in January 2009.
    Obama, at the first campaign appearances of his post-presidency, warned about the tone and content of Trump-style politics -- after spending several weeks watching Trump undermine his proudest achievements including the Iran nuclear deal and the Affordable Care Act.
    Apparently referring to the President's handling of racial violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and sluggish condemnation of white supremacists, Obama lamented the "same old politics of division" while campaigning for New Jersey Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy.
    "Some of the politics we see now, we thought we had put that to bed," Obama said. "That's folks looking 50 years back. It's the 21st Century, not the 19th Century."
    In a second campaign stop in Virginia, Obama took aim at the methods Trump used to win the election.
    "We've got folks who are deliberately trying to make folks angry -- to demonize people who have different ideas; to get the base all riled up because it provides a short-term tactical advantage," Obama said, again without specifically naming the President.
    There's no doubt that Obama and Bush have been dismayed by some of Trump's antics in office. Both men were deeply conscious of the messages their own conduct and rhetoric projected at home and abroad. Both spoke about how they viewed the presidency as a public trust that was theirs for a short time and was not a vehicle for personal glorification.
    Trump, by contrast, seems unimpressed by the conventions, heritage and protocols of the presidency. His critics have constantly complained that he is damaging the office of the presidency itself.
    JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 28:  (L-R) Former U.S. Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton attend the trophy presentation prior to Thursday foursome matches of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 28, 2017 in Jersey City, New Jersey.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
    JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 28: (L-R) Former U.S. Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton attend the trophy presentation prior to Thursday foursome matches of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 28, 2017 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
    The President has not so far not responded to his predecessors' critiques, though a Twitter blast cannot be ruled out.
    While such obvious criticism of an incumbent president by ex-presidents is extraordinary it is also a metric of the highly unusual times and the shock to the political system embodied by Trump's election.
    Republican strategist and CNN commentator Ana Navarro noted the tradition of former presidents keeping out of the spotlight, but added: "enough is enough."
    "There is a lot of people that are frustrated, that are heartbroken, that are sad. "It is time up to speak up and act up and have a position," she said.
    The political impact of the Bush and Obama criticism of Trump is likely to be limited. By definition, former presidents lack the influence they once had.
    Bush's Republican Party, featuring "compassionate conservatism," thwarted hopes of comprehensive immigration reform and democracy promotion at the point of a gun overseas is long gone.
    Obama's electoral coalition rewrote the rules of electoral politics in 2008 just as Trump did in 2016. Yet the 44th President was never able to transfer that magic formula to anyone else -- as the failed election campaign of Hillary Clinton demonstrated.
    In fact, for Trump's supporters, and perhaps for the president himself, the reappearances of Obama and Bush on Thursday may have seemed less of a rebuke than validation.
    After all, what better endorsement could there be of an anti-establishment campaign targeting Washington elites and a broken political system, than running foul of the two previous presidents from each political party?
    It seems unlikely that once he leaves office he will settle into the chummy former presidents club and be seen yukking it up at the President's Cup golf tournament, as Bush, Obama and Bill Clinton were recently. It's almost impossible to believe, for instance, given their history, that he will show up -- or be invited -- for the opening of his successor's presidential library.
    Trump also has a torrid personal history with both men, dating to his Birtherism campaignagainst Obama, and the defanging of Bush's brother Jeb, the establishment GOP's top hope for the nomination in the 2016 race.
    Breitbart News, which is run by former top Trump political adviser Steve Bannon, summed up the attitude of many of the President's supporters with its headline about the 43rd president's speech: "Bush dynasty's firstborn emerges to bash Trump, 'nativism.'"
    The critique by Bush and Obama also obscured the inadvertent contribution both men had made to the rise of Trump.
    It was the long decade-and-a-half of war launched by Bush, especially the invasion of Iraq on the basis of never-found weapons of mass destruction, that helped foster the current climate of isolationism among Trump supporters.
    Obama will be remembered by history for bringing the nation back from the worst financial crisis in 70 years, that erupted late in Bush's second term. But the recovery over which he presided left many workers, in traditional industries behind, especially in Midwestern battleground states that proved fertile ground for the Trump's winning economic message last fall.
    Absence of proof is not proof of absence.
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    Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 20 2017 at 6:13am
    Trump may be unaffected, but any non-psychopath with even a vestigial conscience should be deeply ashamed.

    I believe the reason for the convention of not criticizing one's Presidential successor is twofold.  First and foremost it is to maintain the dignity of the office and second, all Presidents are imperfect.  People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

    For more than one past President to feel compelled to speakup, suggests both deep malaise about the course of the union and a confidence that, however many mistakes they made, they would look great by comparison.

    Who else is in as good a place to judge?
    Absence of proof is not proof of absence.
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