Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Night 49° Clear
News >  Nation/World

Bush criticizes GOP isolationism, anti-immigration rhetoric

UPDATED: Tue., April 20, 2021

FILE - In this July 30, 2020 file photo, former President George W. Bush speaks during the funeral service for the late Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.  (Alyssa Pointer)
FILE - In this July 30, 2020 file photo, former President George W. Bush speaks during the funeral service for the late Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. (Alyssa Pointer)
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — George W. Bush says the Republican Party he served as president has become “isolationist, protectionist and, to a certain extent, nativist” and says he’s especially concerned about anti-immigration rhetoric.

“It’s a beautiful country we have and yet it’s not beautiful when we condemn, call people names and scare people about immigration,” Bush told NBC’s “Today” show on Tuesday.

Bush, who was in New York to preside over a naturalization ceremony, said his new book, “Out of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Immigrants,” aims to ”elevate the discourse.”

The former president did not mention Donald Trump, who aggressively curbed both legal and illegal immigration during his tenure and sought to build a “big, beautiful wall” at the southwest border with Mexico to keep out migrants. Trump, a fellow Republican, disparaged the migrants as invaders and “illegal aliens” and, as a candidate, referred to Mexicans as “rapists.”

But Trump has dominated the Republican Party, even out of office. Hard-right House Republicans last week discussed forming an America First Caucus, which one document described as championing “Anglo-Saxon political traditions” and warning that mass immigration was putting the “unique identity” of the U.S. at risk.

Bush, asked to describe the state of the party, replied, “I would describe it as isolationist, protectionist and, to a certain extent, nativist.” He added, “It’s not exactly my vision as an old guy, but I’m just an old guy that’s put out to pasture.”

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.