Both former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush criticized President Trump on Thursday, slamming Trump’s divisive, nativist and hateful rhetoric. Neither of the former presidents named Trump directly, but both their speeches were clearly aimed at the current president. This is President Obama, speaking in Richmond, Virginia, while campaigning for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam.
Barack Obama: “Instead of our politics reflecting our values, we’ve got politics infecting our communities. Instead of looking for ways to work together and get things done in a practical way, we’ve got folks who are deliberately trying to make folks angry, to demonize people who have different ideas, to get the base all riled up, because it provides a short-term tactical advantage.”
That was former President Barack Obama. And this is former President George W. Bush, also denouncing President Trump, while speaking at a Bush Institute event in New York.
George W. Bush: “Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication. … We’ve seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty. At times, it can seem like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together. … We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism, forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America.”
The New York Times reports it is unprecedented in modern U.S. history for two former presidents to speak out so forcefully against the current sitting president.