George W. Bush takes shots at Trump on Russia probe, travel ban and free press. President Bush Defends the ‘Indispensable’ Media in Rare Interview: ‘Power Can Be Very Addictive’
Former president George W. Bush took a few thinly veiled shots at President Donald Trump during an interview with NBC’s “Today” show.
The Republican ex-president appeared on Monday’s program to promote his upcoming book, “Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors,” and anchor Matt Lauer asked if he agreed with Trump that the media was an “enemy of the people.”
“I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy,” Bush said. “We need an independent media to hold people like me to account. 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.”
Bush said he tried to convince Russian president Vladimir Putin of the importance of an independent press, and he said American credibility was crucial in fostering democracy elsewhere.
“It’s kind of hard to tell others to have an independent free press when we’re not willing to have one ourselves,” Bush said.
Bush said Americans deserved answers in the ongoing probe of the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia, although he stopped short of calling for a special prosecutor.
“I’ve never been a lawyer, so I’m not sure if that’s the right avenue to take, but I am sure that that question needs to be answered,” he said.
Lauer asked Bush whether he believed Trump’s travel ban on some Muslim nations was well thought out, and the former president offered a mild rebuke.
“A bedrock of our freedom is the right to worship freely,” said Bush, who defended the Islamic faith following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
Lauer then asked Bush whether he supported the controversial travel ban, which has been blocked in federal court.
“I am for an immigration policy that’s welcoming and that upholds the law,” Bush said.
In a rare sit-down interview, President George W. Bush appeared live on the NBC TODAY Show this morning opposite Matt Lauer to discuss the current state of affairs in American politics. Dubya was asked directly about the role of the news media in today’s landscape, which is increasingly becoming a focal point of criticism under the administration of his Republican successor, President Donald Trump.
While Bush admitted, “the job’s a tough job,” he indicated that it is the essential right and duty of the free press to hold people in power accountable for their words and actions. At one point, he told Lauer directly that back in 2000, “You mattered a lot more!” meaning that a news outlet like NBC was one of the few main sources of disseminating trustworthy information. “Now there’s all kinds of information being bombarded out, and people can say things anonymously. It’s just a different world.”
“I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy,” the former President told Lauer. “We need an independent media to hold people like me to account. Power can be very addictive and it can be corrosive.”
As for the job that Trump has done in the White House, Bush said on TODAY, “I think you have to take the take the man for his word that he wants to unify the country.” Tonight, President Bush will also join Sean Hannity on Fox News for an exclusive interview. Watch above via NBC.