Bush skewers President Trump without using his name in impassioned speech


Donald Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon has attacked George W Bush - calling his presidency "destructive".

"There has never been a more destructive presidency than George Bush's", Mr Bannon said, with some in the crowd booing when the former president's name was mentioned.

"We've seen nationalism distorted into nativism, forgotten the dynamism immigration has always brought to America, the fading value of trade, we've seen the return of isolationist sentiments forgetting that American security is directly threatened by the chaos and despair of distant places where threats such as terrorism, infectious disease, criminal gangs, and drug trafficking tend to emerge", Bush said.

"Politics are now about discrediting people by ad hominem attacks, not by argumentation", Eliot Cohen said.

At an event for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy in New Jersey, Obama, who has avoided criticizing Trump publicly, criticized the "politics of division" that "we see now". "At times, it could seem like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together".

"Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication", he said. "This was a long-planned speech on liberty and democracy as a part of the Bush Institute's Human Freedom Initiative".

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"Instead of our politics reflecting our values, we've got politics infecting our communities", he said. "Disagreement escalates into dehumanization".

"We've got folks who are deliberately trying to make folks angry, to demonize people who have different ideas, to get the base all riled up because it provides a short-term tactical advantage".

His predecessor made similar comments in NY at a conference hosted by the George W. Bush Institute.

"Our identity as a nation, unlike other nations, is not determined by geography or ethnicity, by soil or blood", Bush said Thursday. "It means that bigotry and white supremacy, in any form, is blasphemy against the American creed". "Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions". "You won't be able to unite them later if that's how you start".

The former president noted that Americans are the heirs of Thomas Jefferson, the third USA president, as well as civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. The public comments were Bush's most pointed since President Donald Trump took office in January.