George W. Bush hasn’t done much in the public eye since leaving office, but on Thursday he gave a speech in which, without saying the name of his successor in losing the popular vote but gaining the White House, he took several clear shots at Donald Trump. “To renew our country, we only need to remember our values,” said Bush, and:
“Bigotry in any form is blasphemy against the American creed and it means the very identity of our nation depends on the passing of civic ideals to the next generation. We need a renewed emphasis on civic learning in schools,” Bush said. “And our young people need positive role models. Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, and compromises the moral education of children.”
“The only way to pass along civic values is to first live up to them,” he said.
What does it say about Trump that all of this rings true even coming from Bush, whose administration worked to legitimize torture?
Bush also spoke out on Russian election interference, again with a seeming reference to Trump:
“America has experienced a sustained attempt by a hostile power to feed and exploit our country’s divisions,” he said. “According to our intelligence services, the Russian government has made a project of turning Americans against each other. This effort is broad, systemic, and stealthy. It’s conducted a range of stealthy media platforms.”
“Ultimately, this assault won’t succeed,” he added. “But foreign aggressions, including cyberattacks, disinformation, and financial influence should never be downplayed or tolerated.”
Downplayed or tolerated—gosh, who could be doing that?
One possible topic for the tweetstorm that surely must be brewing in Trump’s unstable temperament: Is Bush insufficiently grateful to Trump for knocking him a spot down the list of worst presidents ever?