While President Trump has not been a favorite in the Bush households, the former father and son presidents’ dislike of their successor is now quite clear.
George H.W. Bush simply considers Trump a “blowhard” while his son, George W. Bush, thinks he has no concept of what being president means. The two men, who served in the White House for a combined 20 years, revealed their assessment of the new commander-in-chief and the state of the Republican Party under his leadership in a new book.
In “The Last Republicans,” the first book written with the consent of the father and son about their relationship, author Mark K. Updegrove gives a look into the their apprehensions about the future of the party they led for decades and the changing political scene under Trump.
“I don’t like him. I don’t know much about him, but I know he’s a blowhard. And I’m not too excited about him being a leader,” the elder Bush, now 93, told Updegrove in May 2016, according to The New York Times.
Bush Sr., who voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, thought Trump seemed to have “a certain ego” but initially had hopes that he could unite the country if he possessed a sense of “humility.”
“As you know from looking at my family, it is a certain heritage, that’s what they expect, and we’re not seeing that” in Trump, the younger Bush told the author. When Trump stated that “I’m my own adviser,” Bush concluded that he just did not understand the presidency.
The younger Bush, who also did not vote for his party’s nominee but opted for “none of the above” on the ballot, recently delivered a speech that seemed to be a stinging rebuke of Trump, though he never mentioned the president by name.
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Updegrove, the founding chief executive of the National Medal of Honor Museum and the former director of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum, came up with the book’s title after a comment from the younger Bush during the 2016 election season.
“I’m worried that I will be the last Republican president,” he told the author.
“At the time, I think he was concerned that Hillary Clinton would win,” Updegrove said in an interview, according to the Times. “But if you look at his values and those shared by his father and Ronald Reagan, they are very much in contrast to the values of the Republican Party today, in particular the platform that Donald Trump ran on, which is essentially protectionism and a certain xenophobia.”
The first father-and-son to hold the presidency since John Adams and John Quincy Adams, the Bushes’ dislike for Trump may have had some root in his treatment of the son and brother of the presidents., Jeb Bush, during the campaign.
“You can either exploit the anger, incite it,” George W. Bush told Updegrove, “or you can come up with ideas to deal with it.” His brother’s solutions apparently “didn’t fit with the mood.”
“If you’re angry with the powers that be,” he added, “you’re angry with the so-called establishment, and there’s nothing more established than having a father and brother that have been president.”
“The Last Republicans,” published by HarperCollins, will be out November 14.
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