In private dinner, George W. Bush criticizes Trump decision to add North Korea to travel ban

In private dinner, George W. Bush criticizes Trump decision to add North Korea to travel ban
© Getty Images

Former President George W. Bush at a private dinner on Thursday criticized President Trump's decision to add North Korea to his administration's revised travel ban, according to sources from the dinner.

A spokesman for the former president told Business Insider that he spoke in support of "welcoming dissidents" at The Korea Society's annual dinner in New York City Thursday night.

Bush spoke "in broader strokes, welcoming and supporting dissidents, as he has for years, and referred to the Bush Institute’s longstanding and ongoing work in that area," according to the spokesman, Freddy Ford.

Another source at the dinner told Business Insider that Bush suggested that the recent move to add North Korea to the list of countries under the travel restrictions would discourage dissidents from escaping the country and fleeing to the U.S.

During the dinner, Bush also quipped that he doubted that the Korean Peninsula would reunify "in my lifetime," which Bush's spokesman said was a joke about the former president's age.

On Sunday, the Trump administration added North Korea, Chad and Venezuela to the list of countries whose citizens would be prohibited from entering the United States.

The eight countries on the revised travel ban are Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen.

“As president, I must act to protect the security and interests of the United States and its people,” Trump said in the announcement.

"North Korea does not cooperate with the United States government in any respect and fails to satisfy all information-sharing requirements," the revised travel restrictions said. "The entry into the United States of nationals of North Korea as immigrants and nonimmigrants is hereby suspended."