Former President George W. Bush was interviewed on NBC’s TODAY program this morning, and he had some choice words directed at President Donald Trump. On the topic of a free press, Bush said:
I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy. We needed the 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.
This comes in the wake of stories late last week that the White House has barred certain news outlets from a question and answer session with Press Secretary Sean Spicer. They were replaced by other media outlets that were prone to being less critical of Trump.
During his tenure as President, Bush spent a considerable amount of effort trying to convince Russian president Vladimir Putin to embrace an independent press in a Russia that was still trying to find it’s feet after the end of the Cold War. On Trump calling the press the “enemies of the people” Bush said:
It’s kind of hard to tell others to have an independent free press when we’re not willing to have one ourselves.
Bush was careful not to directly criticize Trump, but it’s pretty clear who his words were intended for. When asked, he also didn’t go the full way to advocating a special prosecutor to investigate Trump but did say:
I think we all need answers. Whether or not the special prosecutor is the right way to go you’re talking to the wrong guy…if he [Chair of Senate Intelligence Committee Richard Burr] were to recommend a special prosecutor it’d have a lot more credibility. I am sure this question has to be answered.
The topic then changed towards Trump’s Muslim ban. When asked whether Trump’s position on Muslim has been well thought out, Bush replied:
I thought it’s very important for us to recognize that one of our great strengths [as a country] is for people to be able to worship the way they want to or not worship at all. A bedrock of our freedom is the right to worship freely.
It’s a sign of the crazy times we live in when a man responsible for starting an illegal oil war that has cost millions of lives and tax dollars and helped create one of the most violent terrorist organizations in history sounds more reasonable than our current president. Trump should heed Bush’s words, the man had much higher approval ratings at this point in his tenure as president.
Watch the video below: