Bush’s comments are notable not only because he’s a former Republican president, but he has largely kept quiet on politics since he left Washington. He has recently written
about the need for a gentler approach to immigration in contrast to much of the hardline rhetoric that dominates the current GOP in the post-Trump era, but he has typically avoided directly criticizing the party.
Asked on Tuesday how he would describe the Republican Party as he sees it today, Bush told NBC’s Hoda Kotb on the “Today” show, “I would describe it as isolationist, protectionist and, to a certain extent, nativist.”
When asked if he was disappointed by the party, the former President said, “Well, it is not exactly my vision but I am just an old guy they put out to pasture. Just a simple painter.”
Bush, who has recently made several media appearances to promote his book of paintings of immigrants
, has called on Congress to tone down the “harsh rhetoric” on immigration and advocated last week for a bipartisan approach to immigration legislation.
“I do want to say to Congress, please put aside all of the harsh rhetoric about immigration, please put aside trying to score political points on either side. I hope I can help set a tone that is more respectful about the immigrant, which may lead to reform of the system,” Bush told Norah O’Donnell on “CBS Sunday Morning” over the weekend
This story is breaking and will be updated.