WASHINGTON — Former President George W. Bush walked back his comments this week describing today’s Republican Party as “isolationist” and “nativist” and revealed that he wrote in Condoleezza Rice for president last November.
Bush, who is promoting a new book featuring his paintings of immigrants, was asked what he thought about his party in an interview with NBC’s “Today” show earlier this week and answered, “I would describe it as isolationist, protectionist and, to a certain extent, nativist.”
In an interview with People magazine, the former president clarified his comment, saying, “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.”
“My concerns [are] about those -isms,” he told the magazine. “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.”
Bush condemned divisive rhetoric about immigrants and called for reforming the U.S. immigration system in his interview with “Today,” a point he also touched upon in his People interview.
The former president also revealed that he wrote in Condoleezza Rice instead of choosing between former President Donald Trump or President Joe Biden in November’s election.
“She knows it,” Bush said, joking that “she told me she would refuse to accept the office.”
Rice, now the director of the Hoover Institution, was Bush’s secretary of state from 2005 to 2009 after serving as his national security adviser from the beginning of his administration.
Bush also didn’t vote for Trump or Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.