Former president George W. Bush reportedly collected a speaking fee of $100,000, as well as the use of a private jet, in exchange for aiding a charity that benefits veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, which he presided over from the Oval Office.
Officials with the Texas-based charity, Helping A Hero, confirmed to ABC News that Bush collected the hefty fee for speaking at a fundraising gala in 2012. They also revealed that the former president was given the use of a private jet in order to travel to Houston for the event, at a cost of $20,000. His wife, former first lady Laura Bush, also collected a $50,000 fee to appear for the same charity one year earlier.
— VeteransTodayNetwork (@veteranstoday) July 9, 2015
The charity works to support veterans who lost limbs or suffered severe injuries during the Bush-era wars by assisting them with obtaining specially-adapted homes to suit their needs. Meredith Iler, the former chairwoman of the company, asserted that Bush’s speaking fees were a bargain, as the former first couple helped to raise record contributions.
“It was great because he reduced his normal fee of $250,000 down to $100,000,” she said.
— Sarah Mervosh (@smervosh) July 9, 2015
A recent report by Politico has called that discount into question, however. They point out that Bush’s speaking fees were typically between $100,000 and $175,000 during that period of time.
The revelation that Bush received money from a charity that assists veterans of wars which he presided over while president was met with strong condemnation by some of those same soldiers. Former Marine Eddie Wright, who lost both of his hands in 2004 as a consequence of a mortar attack in Fallujah (and who also served on the charity’s board), questioned whether Bush’s fee was justifiable.
— rick (@rickrick888) July 9, 2015
“For him to be paid to raise money for veterans that were wounded in combat under his orders, I don’t think that’s right.”
When asked what he would say to Bush, Wright was forthcoming with his opinion.
“You sent me to war. I was doing what you told me to do, gladly for you and our country and I have no regrets. But it’s kind of a slap in the face.”
The revelation comes just a day after Bush’s brother, current presidential candidate Jeb Bush, courted controversy by asserting that American workers need to put in more hours in order to meet his planned goal of four percent economic growth. As the Inquisitr previously reported, Bush’s remarks were made during an interview that was live-streamed on Periscope.
Fellow Republican contender Donald Trump, who has been a thorn in the younger Bush’s side in recent weeks, directed his own criticism at the former president through Twitter.
You mean George Bush sends our soldiers into combat, they are severely wounded, and then he wants $120,000 to make a boring speech to them?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2015
According to CNN, a spokesman for George W. Bush asserted that the former president has made assisting veterans one of the “highest priorities in his post presidency.”
[Photo by Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images]