Former President George W. Bush is speaking out against President Donald Trump and his policy agenda.
“I don’t like the racism and I don’t like the name-calling and I don’t like the people feeling alienated,” Bush said Monday in an interview published in People magazine.
The 43rd president told the outlet that the political climate after Trump’s election had become “pretty ugly,” but stressed that he’s “more optimistic than some.”
“I’m optimistic about where we’ll end up. We’ve been through these periods before and we’ve always had a way to come out of it,” Bush said.
Bush says he didn’t meddle during Obama’s tenure, and he doesn’t intend to be critical during Trump’s.
When President Obama got elected, he said friends would call: ‘You must speak out! You must do this, you must do that.’ Turns out, other people are doing the same thing this time,” he continued. “I didn’t feel like speaking out before because I didn’t want to complicate the job and I’m not going to this time.”
But Bush did say, “however, at the Bush Center we are speaking up.”
The Bush Center is ramping up efforts to support initiatives that conflict with the Trump administration’s policies, including pro-immigration programs.
“It’s really through actions defending the values important to [my wife Laura] and me. We’re a blessed nation, and we ought to help others,” Bush said.
Asked if Trump’s executive actions temporarily suspending the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program would conflict with the Bush Center programs, the former President said: “Now that you mention it, it might bother me but we’ll figure out how to bring them over.”
Earlier on Monday, Bush appeared on NBC’s Today show and told host Matt Lauer he “understood right off the bat that [Trump’s executive order] was an ideological conflict. I am for an immigration policy that is welcoming and upholds the law.”
Bush is currently promoting his first art book, Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors, which features portraits of the wounded warriors of America’s war on terror.