Former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush have largely stayed out of the political spotlight, but yesterday, both men delivered scathing––albeit veiled––assessments of President Donald Trump’s brand of politics. Both men suggested the current president’s tenure has been defined predominantly by the promotion of bigotry and falsehoods.
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) October 20, 2017
“You’ll notice I haven’t been commenting on politics a lot lately, but here’s one thing I know: If you have to win a campaign by dividing people, you’re not going to be able to govern. You won’t be able to unite them later if that’s how you start,” Obama told an audience of 7,500 people in Richmond, Virginia. “We’ve got folks who are deliberately trying to make folks angry, to demonize people who have different ideas, to get the base all riled up because it provides a short-term tactical advantage.”
Meanwhile, at a George W. Bush Institute event in New York earlier yesterday, the former Republican president addressed partisan conflicts which have largely fractured the party: “Bigotry seems emboldened,” Bush said. “Our politics seem more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication.”
We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism – forgetting the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America,” the 43rd president added. “We see a fading confidence in the value of free markets and international trade – forgetting that conflict, instability, and poverty follow in the wake of protectionism. We have seen the return of isolationist sentiments – forgetting that American security is directly threatened by the chaos and despair of distant places, where threats such as terrorism, infectious disease, criminal gangs and drug trafficking tend to emerge. In all these ways, we need to recall and recover our own identity.
For more highlights from both speeches, please continue to page 2…