Former President George W. Bush says he dislikes the “racism,” “name-calling” and “people feeling alienated” under Donald Trump’s presidency.
In an interview alongside his wife Laura with People, the former president was critical of the current political climate in Washington, which he described as “pretty ugly.” “I’m not going back nowhere!” he said, according to the magazine.
“I don’t like the racism and I don’t like the name-calling and I don’t like the people feeling alienated,” Bush said. “Nobody likes that.”
Bush pointedly declined to support Trump even after he was named the Republican Party’s nominee last summer (his younger brother, Jeb, had run in the primary). Bush offered some indirect criticism of Trump on Monday’s “Today Show,” as well, speaking positively about immigration and the press in contrast to Trump’s own stances.
But in his interview with People, Bush also sounded a note of optimism about the future of the country. “I’m optimistic about where we’ll end up,” he said. “We’ve been through these periods before and we’ve always had a way to come out of it. I’m more optimistic than some.”
Bush said he largely plans to continue his Obama administration-era policy of keeping his voice out of the political fray, but he suggested that his center’s work is its own kind of activism. The Bush Center, the former first couple told People, is doing work in areas like immigration, women’s reproductive health and leadership training for Muslim women.
“There’s a lot of ways to speak out,” Bush said. “But it’s really through actions defending the values important to Laura and me. … We’re a blessed nation, and we ought to help others.”
People asked Bush whether Trump’s proposed travel ban targeting several predominantly Muslim nation poses a threat to the Bush Center’s work, to which the former president responded, “Now that you mention it, it might bother me but we’ll figure out how to bring them over.”
Trump hasn’t gone to Bush for any advice on running the White House, he said, adding that “it doesn’t hurt my feelings.”