Former President George W. Bush criticized the proposed policies of “isolationism, nativism, and protectionism,” terms often used to deride key aspects of Trump’s plans, at a private Rob Portman fundraising event Tuesday.
Bush described current affairs as “an interesting exercise of statecraft,” according to one attendee, indirectly swiping Trump. Later, Bush’s message was more direct, when he said that there are “some cutting-edge issues that Trump is advancing that need to be scrutinized and debated.”
In his time as president, Bush worked hard to try to pass comprehensive immigration reform and was a proponent of the DREAM act, both of which aimed to provide a path of citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
Given Trump’s insistence on building a wall along the Mexican border and his positions on immigration, it is not surprising that both Bush 41 and 43 have decided not to give Trump an endorsement. Bush 41 has endorsed the last five Republican nominees.
Responding to a question regarding the future of the Republican Party at an Ohio event, Bush hinted again at differences with Trump over immigration policy, saying, “As long as everyone feels welcome, I think we’ll succeed.”
Jeb Bush similarly refused to endorse Trump after a grueling primary. One of Jeb’s top advisers vowed to vote for Hillary if the race in Florida is close. George’s younger brother, Marvin Bush, recently announced his endorsement of Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.
According to those attending the fundraiser, Bush encouraged Islamic women to immigrate to America to experience a free society. U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup noted, “He really touched everyone in the room.”
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