Former President George H.W. Bush called then-candidate Donald Trump a “blowhard” during the 2016 presidential campaign, saying he seemed to be driven by “ego” rather than a call to public service.
His son, former President George W. Bush, was critical of how Trump rose to power, telling the author of a new book, “You can either exploit the anger [of voters], incite it, or you can come up with ideas to deal with it,” according to an article on the book in The New York Times.
George W. Bush’s brother, Jeb, did the latter in his campaign, proposing concrete ideas. “But it didn’t fit the mood,” George W. Bush said.
The book, “The Last Republican,” was written by Mark D. Updegrove with the cooperation of both former presidents Bush and is due to be released Nov. 14 by HarperCollins.
Updegrove got the title from a comment by the younger Bush during the 2016 election, “I’m worried that I will be the last Republican president.”
George W. Bush seemed to be referring to his expectation that Democrat Hillary Clinton would win. But Updegrove told the Times that the remark seemed to carry a double meaning because the values of both Bushes and former President Ronald Reagan “are very much in contrast to the values of the Republican Party today, in particular the platform that Donald Trump ran on, which is essentially protectionism and a certain xenophobia.”
That view echoes remarks George W. Bush made in a speech last month when he warned that “bigotry seems emboldened” in the current state of affairs and public discourse is “degraded by casual cruelty.”
Bush didn’t mention Trump in his speech on Oct. 19, but he seemed to be referring to the current president’s policies when he talked about “nationalism distorted into nativism” and a forgetting of “the dynamism immigration” has brought to the U.S.
Asked about the Bushes’ comments on his trip to Asia, Trump brushed off the remarks.
“I don’t need headlines,” he said. “I don’t want to make their move successful.”
Earlier, the White House had also dismissed the comments from the two former presidents.
“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 spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said. “If they were interested in continuing decades of costly mistakes, another establishment politician more concerned with putting politics over people would have won.”
Updegrove’s book also looks at the view that George W. Bush’s presidency was heavily influenced by his vice president, Dick Cheney, and defense secretary, Donald H. Rumsfeld. The former president rejected that notion, saying Cheney and Rumsfeld “didn’t make one f—— decision.”