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George W. Bush: Today's GOP is 'isolationist, protectionist, and to a certain extent, nativist'

Former President George W. Bush said on Tuesday that today’s Republican Party is far from what it used to be. 

“I would describe it as isolationist, protectionist and to a certain extent nativist,” Bush said to host Hoda Kotb during an appearance on NBC's "Today."

“Well, that’s not exactly my vision, but you know what, I’m just an old guy they put out to pasture," he added. "So just a simple painter.” 

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The former president also said that he thinks a GOP candidate with progressive positions on immigration laws, young immigrants brought to the U.S. by their parents, gun reform and funding for public schools has a shot to win the White House in 2024.

“I think that it depends upon the emphasis. I think if the emphasis [is] integrity and decency and trying to get problems solved, yeah, I think the person has a shot,” he said. 

Bush is promoting his new book “Out of Many, One: Portraits of American Immigrants,” which is based on oil paintings by the former president on national figures and migrants.

His comments come as House GOP leaders are struggling to rein in the increasingly open nativism within their conference.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthySunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as White House continues to push vaccination effort Trump spokesman says defeating Cheney a top priority Gaetz, Greene tout push to oust Cheney: 'Maybe we're the leaders' MORE (R-Calif.) tweeted over the weekend that the GOP is not the party of “nativist dog whistles” after a draft policy platform was leaked for a proposed caucus that called for promoting “Anglo-Saxon political traditions” and infrastructure that reflects “European architecture.”