Former First Lady Laura Bush, wife of the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush, a Republican, surprised pundits this week by hinting — according to the analysis of The Telegraph and The Washington Times — that she would prefer to have Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton win the 2016 presidential election if it came down to a choice between her and the current Republican front-runner, New York City businessman Donald Trump.
The Bush family has been vocal about their opposition to Donald Trump since the beginning of this election cycle, when George W. Bush’s younger brother Jeb Bush was running against him in the GOP primary. Jeb Bush has since dropped out of the race and endorsed his former opponent, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).
Wow!!! Shows you how disconnected the GOP is https://t.co/0B443nmjnE
— Sean Brown-Pearce (@Sean5851) April 10, 2016
Laura Bush attended Tina Brown’s seventh annual Women in the World summit in Manhattan with her twin daughters, Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush, 34, which ran from April 6 through April 8. The former First Lady was there to promote her new book, We Are Afghan Women: Voices of Hope, a companion piece to her Afghan Women’s Project, an initiative of the George W. Bush Institute that is designed to promote the protection and expansion of women’s rights in Afghanistan. A good portion of the three-day gathering for female public figures focused on improving women’s rights in Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
Laura Bush unsurprisingly chose not to name any particular presidential candidate in either a positive or a negative light. The American presidential election at times seemed to overshadow the attempt at a more international and less ethnocentric conversation, and Donald Trump’s name — and his penchant for misogyny — inevitably came up.
“I want our next president — whoever he or she might be — to be somebody who is interested in women in Afghanistan and who will continue U.S. policies…that we continue to do what we’re committed to do as a country. That’s who I want — or the kind of people that will do that and will pay attention to our history, and know what’s happened before and know specifically how we can continue to do the good things that we do around the world.”
The Telegraph claims that “many in the packed auditorium took her words as a coded criticism” of Donald Trump, who, along with Hillary Clinton’s rival for the Democratic nomination, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), has campaigned on shaking up the status quo, despite the fact that President Barack Obama currently has a very impressive approval rating when compared to past presidents in the final year of their second terms. President Obama, the person who should ostensibly be taking the most heat for any negative results of current policy, is also more popular than any of the presidential candidates left in the race.
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) April 11, 2016
Laura Bush’s vision of the best choice in that field does seem to apply the most strongly to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as she was a member of the Obama administration and has been making sure to inject praise for the popular president into her speeches on the stump, thus implying that she will in fact “continue U.S. policies,” at least to a degree.
The Telegraph also points out that Ted Cruz, one of Donald Trump’s remaining rivals for the Republican nomination, has stated that the United States has only one role in Afghanistan and that is to fight terrorism — meaning any attempts at nation-building are simply out of the question for a hypothetical Cruz administration.
The Washington Times also stated that “many in the audience took her remark as a nod to the former Secretary of State.” Hillary Clinton visited Afghanistan four times during her tenure as Secretary of State under President Barack Obama.
Laura Bush was raised a Democrat and rarely comments publicly on politics, preferring to discuss her charitable causes, the most prominent of which is literacy due to her work first as a teacher and then as a librarian.
[Image courtesy of Jemal Countess/Getty Images]