In a break with his quiet posture during President Obama’s tenure, George W. Bush weighed in Monday during a Today show appearance on the questions swirling around the Trump administration and its ties to Russia. “We all need answers,” he said, while also advocating for an aggressive independent press and a “welcoming” immigration policy.
Bush said he would trust Senate Intelligence panel Chairman Richard Burr to decide if a special prosecutor is necessary.
But, Bush added, “I think we all need answers … I’m not sure the right avenue to take. I am sure, though, that that question needs to be answered.”
GOP Sen. Burr, of course, admitted on Friday that he’s been essentially serving as a White House flak on Russia even as he’s supposedly overseeing an investigation into the Trump camp’s contacts with Russia.
The former president, who is promoting a book of his paintings of wounded veterans, also took issue with Trump’s characterization of the media as an “enemy of the people.” Bush said the U.S. won’t be able to convince authoritarian governments, including Russia, to open up their governments to media scrutiny if U.S. leaders try to discredit their own press.
“We need an independent media to hold people like me to account,” Bush said. “Power can be very addictive, and it can be corrosive. And it’s important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power, whether it be here or elsewhere.”
On the issue of immigration and Trump’s recent attempt to ban travelers from seven Muslim-majority nations, Bush warned that if the U.S. freezes out other countries and turns inward, that would only make it more difficult to fight the Islamic State group and other foreign extremists.
“I think it’s very hard to fight the war on terrorism if we’re in retreat,” he said.
Bush added: “I am for an immigration policy that’s welcoming and upholds the law.”
That pretty much sounds like a total repudiation of Donald Trump’s young and ignominious tenure as pr*sident.