"Bigotry seems emboldened": George W. Bush

Pauline Gross
October 22, 2017

"The great democracies face new and serious threats yet seem to be losing confidence in their own calling and competence", Bush said in New York City.

"We've seen nationalism distorted into nativism", Bush said, warning that "bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed". "But we cannot wish globalization away, any more than we could wish away the Agricultural Revolution or the Industrial Revolution".

Bush "has said very little publicly about the current president, or about American politics at all", Politico observed. "At times, it could seem like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together".

In an effort to raise money for disaster relief in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Irma and Maria and the destruction the three storms caused in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, former US Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter will make an unprecedented group by convening in the Texas capital for the concert. Argument turns easily into animosity. Forgotten the dynamism immigration has always brought to America.

Trump has received criticism from all sides for saying some of the white nationalists and white supremacists at the deadly Charlottesville hate rally were "fine people", and for appointing avowed nationalists like former chief strategist Steve Bannon.

Bush's denunciation of the Trump dispensation was even sharper.

"The health of the democratic spirit itself is at issue, and the renewal of that spirit is the urgent task at hand", Bush told a meeting of the Bush Institute on Thursday in NY. "People of every race, religion, and ethnicity can be fully and equally American", he said.

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He argued that America must strengthen its defense of democracy and democratic institutions under attack from foreign powers, and Russian Federation in particular. "We need a renewed emphasis on civic learning in schools", Bush said.

"Bigotry seems emboldened", Bush went on.

"America has experienced a sustained attempt by a hostile power to exploit our country's divisions and feed them".

Bush noted Russia's meddling in the 2016 election and declared that "the Russian government has made a project of turning Americans against each other".

He added, "Foreign aggressions including cyberattacks, disinformation and financial influence should never be downplayed or tolerated".

He also mentioned Russia's influence in the 2016 presidential election, calling on the United States to "harden its own defenses". Trump has often repeated falsehoods and promoted false conspiracies, such as the claim of widespread voter fraud during the 2016 elections.

A spokesman for Bush told The Hill the speech was "long-planned" and not a critique of Trump.

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