White House strikes back at Bushes over legacy
The White House fired back at former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush on Saturday, attacking their legacies after both Bushes expressed their displeasure with President Trump in a new book.
“The American people voted to elect an outsider who is capable of implementing real, positive, and needed change – instead of a lifelong politician beholden to special interests,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement to The Hill. “If they were interested in continuing decades of costly mistakes, another establishment politician more concerned with putting politics over people would have won.”
In another statement reported by CNN, a White House source slammed the Bush legacy.
“If one presidential candidate can disassemble a political party, it speaks volumes about how strong a legacy its past two presidents really had,” the White House said, according to CNN.
The younger Bush expressed concern in the new book, “The Last Republicans” by Mark K. Updegrove, that he would be “the last Republican president.” The book, which will be released Nov. 14, was previewed by The Hill and other media outlets late Friday and Saturday.
Both Bushes confirmed in the book they did not vote for Trump in the last election.
The elder Bush confirmed he voted for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election and called Trump a “blowhard.”
“I don’t like him,” George H.W. Bush says in the book. “I don’t know much about him, but I know he’s a blowhard. And I’m not too excited about him being a leader.”
George W. Bush offered his own critique of Trump in the book, saying Trump “doesn’t know what it means to be president.”
The younger Bush also didn’t vote for Trump in the 2016 election, saying he opted for “none of the above” on his ballot.
The Bush criticism comes on the heels of former House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) implying the Republican party is dead.
“Donald Trump’s not a Republican,” he told Politico.
The preview of the new book also follows a speech by George W. Bush in which he said “bigotry seems emboldened” in the United States, and warned that Americans need to reject “white supremacy.”
The younger Bush didn’t mention Trump by name during the speech, and a spokesman said Bush’s remarks were “a long-planned speech on liberty and democracy.”
But in the new book, George W. Bush said his concerns about Trump’s candidacy included the country’s growing “nativism” and “isolationism.”
Both Bushes offer their thoughts on the Iraq War in the book. George W. Bush says the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, “changed the equation” in Iraq and demanded a change in policy.
“I’m very comfortable that when people fully analyze my decisions in the proper context, they will understand why my foreign policy—not in the principles of U.S. leadership but in the application—was different,” George W. Bush said.
But the White House said the Bush legacy “begins with the Iraq war, one of the greatest foreign policy mistakes in American history.”
George H.W. Bush said in the book that Bush’s decision on the Iraq War “will be seen as the right thing to do.”
“Saddam Hussein was a bad guy,” George H.W. Bush said. “I think history will be okay with it.”
The White House told CNN that Trump remains focused on his agenda.
“President Trump remains focused on keeping his promises to the American people by bringing back jobs, promoting an America First foreign policy and standing up for the forgotten men and women of our great country,” the White House said.
— Updated 1:36 p.m.