Speaking to the Today Show, former President George W. Bush gave perhaps his most pointed political statements post-presidency.
Bush has been notoriously quiet on presidential politics since leaving the White House in January 2009, but offered some sharp observations on Trump’ short tenure thus far, particularly as it relates to Trump’s attack on the media.
Speaking about Trump’s statement that the media is the “enemy of the people,” Bush said the following:
“I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy,” Bush said. “We need an independent media to hold people like me to account.”
“Power can be very addictive and it can be corrosive and it’s important for the media to call to account people who abuse power, whether it be here or elsewhere,” he added.
Bush also commented that he believes it’s the president’s job to urge other world leaders to encourage free press:
“It’s kind of hard to tell others to have an independent free press when we’re not willing to have one ourselves,” Bush said.
Speaking on the Russia scandal, Bush added that “we all need answers.” Bush went on to say that having a special prosecutor would “have a lot more credibility with me”.
Regardless of which side of the aisle you are on, having a free and independent press is vital to American democracy. There hasn’t been a single president in U.S. history that wasn’t criticized by the media. It’s part of the job, but President Trump seems to have much thinner skin than most.