The last two Republican presidents before Donald Trump, George W. Bush and his father, George H. W. Bush, have assessed the rise of Donald Trump and the resulting disintegration of the GOP in brutal and stark terms in a new book by historian Mark Updegrove, titled The Last Republicans, reports the New York Times.
“Wow, this guy doesn’t know what it means to be president… [I think] I’m going to be the last Republican President,” the younger Bush confided in Updegrove during the 2016 presidential campaign at a time when Trump was steering the Republican nomination firmly in his direction.
The Bushes resent that the current political climate in Washington hankers for reality-show chicanery under the leadership of “blowhard” Trump, something in sharp contrast to the conservative agenda of the GOP which the father and son spent two generations building. George H.W. Bush was particularly blunt about his assessment of Trump’s personality, pointing out the 93-year-old was never fond of him.
“I don’t like him. I don’t know much about him, but I know he’s a blowhard. And I’m not too excited about him being a leader,” he told Updegrove, who convinced the father and son to open up to him over the last few years. This is the first time that both the former presidents have been so candid and unsparing in their assessment of Trump, although the younger Bush recently lamented the “casual cruelty” and “nativism” of today’s politics in a veiled attack at Trump during a conference in New York, as reported by the Independent.
The book also reveals that neither of the Bushes voted for Trump. While the elder Bush voted for Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush decided to cast his ballot for “none of the above.”
“At the time, I think he was concerned that Hillary Clinton would win,” Updegrove, who has penned several books on presidency and Washington politics, told the Times.
“If you look at his values and those shared by his father and Ronald Reagan, they are very much in contrast to the values of the Republican Party today, in particular the platform that Donald Trump ran on, which is essentially protectionism and a certain xenophobia.”
Updegrove said that the junior Bush did not think that Donald Trump’s campaign would last long, but when the real estate mogul turned politician began to edge towards the Republican nomination, he knew something unprecedented was taking shape in Washington politics.
“Wow, this guy doesn’t know what it means to be president,” George W. Bush told Updegrove when Trump had claimed that he was his “own adviser” during the campaign trail.
The book also chronicles the father-son relationship between the two presidents, along with Bush’s declaration that Dick Cheney’s representation as a Machiavellian puppet-master controlling his presidency was “bulls**t.”
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