Former President George W. Bush offered an unmistakable denunciation of Trumpism Thursday without mentioning the president by name, urging citizens to oppose threats to American democracy.
“Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication,” Bush warned in remarks at the Bush Institute’s Spirit of Liberty event in New York.
Unlike Obama, who campaigned intensely against Trump and has been taking sideways swipes at him since leaving office, Bush has said very little publicly about the current president, or about American politics at all. Thursday’s speech, in which he detailed what he sees as the causes for democratic collapse, the path forward and what were obvious references to Trump — even though, like Obama, he did not utter the president’s name — was a major departure in a speech that called on a renewal of American spirit and institutions.
“Bigotry in any form is blasphemy against the American creed and it means the very identity of our nation depends on the passing of civic ideals to the next generation. We need a renewed emphasis on civic learning in schools,” Bush said. “And our young people need positive role models. Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, and compromises the moral education of children.”
“The only way to pass along civic values is to first live up to them,” he said. It is worthwhile to note that Bush has also been accused of similar things during his presidency.