In addition to creating division between Republicans and Democrats, President Trump’s extremist views have also created friction within the GOP. Several prominent Republicans have spoken out against the president in the last few months, including, most recently, President George W. Bush.
On Thursday morning, during a speech at the George W. Bush Institute, the former president never mentioned Trump by name, but it was still clear to whom he was referring with his remarks about bigotry, bullying, and prejudice.
At one point, Bush lamented the fact that “bigotry seems emboldened” within the U.S.
‘Discontent deepened and sharpened partisan conflicts. Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication.’
He later added:
‘Our young people need positive role models. Bullying and prejudice in our public life set a national tone. It 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.’
Many people on both sides of the aisle appreciated Bush’s speech, including Senator John McCain (R-Arizona). Following the address, McCain tweeted Thursday morning:
‘Important speech by my friend, President George W. Bush today, reminding us of the values that have made America a beacon of hope for all.’
Many people responded to McCain’s praise for Bush by praising him for repeatedly choosing to put country ahead of party. At the same time, quite a few criticized him for breaking with his fellow Republicans and hindering Trump’s agenda.
McCain has been at odds with President Trump practically from the moment he first launched his campaign. McCain has doubled down on his criticism recently, even going so far as to subtly smear the president during his Liberty Medal acceptance speech on Monday evening.
In his speech, McCain warned against “half-baked, spurious nationalism” that is being perpetuated by Trump and his supporters:
‘To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain “the last best hope of earth” for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.’
Featured image via William Thomas Cain/Getty Images.