It turns out that former President George W. Bush, who prior to the 2020 election had said he did not support re-electing former President Donald Trump, did not back President Joe Biden in November, either.
The Bush clan had distanced itself from Trump after the billionaire mocked and defeated former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in the 2016 Republican presidential primary.
But it was not until now that the former president revealed in an interview with People that he decided neither candidate was who he wanted to vote for.
Bush said he wrote in Condoleezza Rice, his secretary of state from 2005 to 2009, and then told her what he had done.
“She knows it,” Bush said. “But she told me she would refuse to accept the office.”
Bush spoke with People as part of the publicity for his new book, “Out of Many, One,” which includes his paintings of several immigrants and also tells the stories behind the portraits.
In the interview, he walked back a comment he made in which he labeled the Republican Party as “isolationist, protectionist and, to a certain extent, nativist.”
The president-turned-painter said he used too broad a brush.
“Really what I should have said — there’s loud voices who are isolationists, protectionists and nativists, something, by the way, I talked about when I was president,” he said in his interview with People.
“My concerns [are] about those -isms but I painted with too broad a brush … because by saying what I said, it excluded a lot of Republicans who believe we can fix the problem,” he said.
Bush said that part of the solution is to once and for all address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy that allows the children of illegal immigrants to remain in the U.S. under a system of renewable work permits.
“I put a DACA student in there because I wanted to just remind Americans that these DACA kids came over when they were … this kid came over when he’s 4 years old,” Bush said. “He has no home to go back to. And he’s a contributing member of our society, he’s engineer and he’s smart and he’s capable.”
Bush said that a wall, such as Trump’s signature project, is only part of any solution to U.S. immigration policy.
“I built a lot of wall myself, as did Clinton, as did Obama, and the reason why is the American people expect our laws to be upheld,” Bush said. “But I also believe there’s a compassionate way of doing it.”
“The truth of the matter is: a wall won’t work unless there’s comprehensive reform, like work visas, asylum system fixed and border patrol agents focused on their job,” he said. “And so there needs to be an all-the-above approach to securing the border and we’ll see.”
Bush said there is always hope for a compromise.
“I think, hopefully, once things settle down in Washington they’ll be able to focus on this issue and get something done,” he said, “and maybe this book will help.”
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