Former president George W. Bush danced his way onto The Ellen DeGeneres Show for the first time on Thursday. Bush’s dance moves were brief and subtle but he seemed pretty pleased with his attempt telling Ellen, “and I’m sober” to the amusement of the audience.
Though George Bush’s dancing looked a bit more like he was attempting to surf, the lightheartedness of the visit was a pleasant exchange. During his presidency, Bush was a proponent of a ban on homosexual marriage. Ellen DeGeneres is in supporter of gay marriage. Despite their different political ideals, it was apparent that both Ellen and George appreciated each other as human beings, with Bush remarking that Ellen is one of his daughter Jenna’s good friends.
Bush was on Ellen promoting his new book, Portraits of Courage. The book features the stories of various veterans that were injured during war, as well as oil painting portraits by George W. Bush.
According to Time, upon leaving the presidency, George wanted to attempt painting as a hobby. Inspired by the works of Winston Churchill, Bush hired a painting instructor just a few years ago to help him hone his craft. When asked why he chose wounded veterans of a war that he sent them to, George discussed with Time that he felt so inspired by those he met through his work with The George W. Bush Presidential Center that he thought it was time to share their stories with others.
Over the past several months, I've painted the portraits of 98 wounded warriors I've gotten to know - remarkable men and women who were injured carrying out my orders. I think about them on #VeteransDay and every day. Their paintings and stories will be featured in PORTRAITS OF COURAGE - a book and special exhibit - next spring, and I am donating all my proceeds to @thebushcenter and our Military Service Initiative's work to honor and support them. Click link in bio for more info.
A post shared by George W. Bush (@georgewbush) on
“I hope civilians realize there’s not an ounce of self-pity in these veterans, and I hope that inspires our citizens to overcome their own struggles, whatever they may be,” Bush said of Portraits of Courage. “I hope veterans realize that it’s courageous to talk about their injuries, including invisible wounds of war like posttraumatic stress.”
Avoiding posts about @realDonaldTrump on my Twitter feed for me is like George Bush putting on a poncho. pic.twitter.com/shiHNFGvfj
— Hunter James (@FerreterJames) March 3, 2017
Bush’s visit on Ellen had many funny and sweet moments. DeGeneres teased George about his meme-worthy Donald Trump inauguration poncho problems and Bush discussed his friendship with Michelle Obama. George and Ellen also discussed the plight of the president and what it is like to be under media scrutiny, and Bush appeared to take a stand for the freedom of the press, echoing sentiments he shared with the Today Show earlier in the week.
“I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy. We need an independent media to hold people like me to account,” Bush told Matt Lauer. “Power can be very addictive and corrosive it’s important for people to call to account people who abuse their power.”
When asked by Ellen what his thoughts were on Vladimir Putin, George W. took the moment to tell of his personal experience as a president dealing with Putin. Bush shared an interaction in which he introduced his Scottish terrier Barney to Russia’s leader. According to George, Putin turned his nose up at the short stature and sweetness of the dog. Later when President Bush and first lady Laura Bush went to Russia for a visit, Putin brought out his own dog for an introduction.
“Putin looks at me and says ‘bigger, stronger, and faster than Barney.’ And you know, it speaks volumes when you listen to what somebody says so in other words, he’s got a chip on his shoulder. And so, yeah. I had a contentious relationship with him,” Bush acknowledged of his relationship with Putin.
Bush also took the opportunity for his visit on the show to offer encouragement to Ellen and the audience. Speaking about the divisiveness and the current state of the nation, Bush said he was reminded of when he graduated from college during the height of the civil rights movement and Vietnam War. Bush said it’s because of that past experience, he is able to have optimism that America will rise above the current animosity and eventually unite again.
Catch part of George W. Bush’s interview with Ellen below:
[Featured Image by Jemal Countess/Getty Images.]