Former President George W. Bush says he's avoided the temptation to criticize his predecessors so he doesn't rock the boat with his friendship with Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaMichelle Obama describes Barack's favorite movies: 'Everybody is sad, then they die' Michelle Obama on coping with low-grade depression: 'Nobody rides life on a high' Sarah Silverman urges Congress to pass voting bill: 'What kind of politician wants to keep people from voting?' MORE.

"I feel like you've made it a point not to criticize your predecessors," Hoda Kotb told Bush during a Tuesday interview on NBC's "Today."

"That's true," the 43rd president replied.


Asked if he had ever been tempted, the 74-year-old former commander in chief said, "I guess I have been, sure."

"Anyone in particular? Nah, I think I'm fine," Bush continued without naming any of his successors.

"If I did, Michelle Obama might not be my friend," he quipped with a smile.


While promoting his book "Out of Many, One: Portraits of America's Immigrants," the ex-president has often reflected on his across-the-aisle relationship with the former first lady.

Obama, who has been seated at multiple official functions next to Bush due to protocol, has called him her "partner in crime" at the events. Several moments between the two political figures have gone viral over the years, including when the pair hugged at the 2016 opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture and when Bush passed Obama a cough drop during former Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainWill the real Lee Hamiltons and Olympia Snowes please stand up? Republicans have dumped Reagan for Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Cheney poised to be ousted; Biden to host big meeting MORE's (R-Ariz.) funeral.

The fact that their friendship has captivated so many people, Bush told Kotb, highlights the country's political polarization and "really points out how bitter we've become."