‘Isolationist,’ ‘nativist’: George W. Bush sharply criticizes GOP in rare interview
NEW YORK - Former President George W. Bush didn’t hold back when asked how he would label the Republican Party in a post-Trump society.
Bush, a Republican, said the GOP has become "isolationist, protectionist and, to a certain extent, nativist" and said he’s especially concerned about anti-immigrant rhetoric.
"It’s a beautiful country we have and yet it’s not beautiful when we condemn, call people names and scare people about immigration," Bush told NBC’s "Today" show on Tuesday.
Bush did not mention former President Donald Trump, who aggressively curbed both legal and illegal immigration during his tenure and sought to build a "big, beautiful wall" at the southwest border with Mexico. Trump, a fellow Republican, disparaged migrants as invaders and "illegal aliens" and, as a candidate, referred to Mexicans as "rapists."
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But Trump has dominated the Republican Party, even out of office. Hard-right House Republicans last week discussed forming an "America First Caucus," which one document described as championing "Anglo-Saxon political traditions" and warned that mass immigration was putting the "unique identity" of the U.S. at risk.
According to FOX News, Trump vowed he would help Republicans win back the majority in Congress in 2022 in a speech to donors earlier this month. He didn’t say whether he plans to run for president again but assured donors "in 2024, a Republican candidate is going to win the White House."
But President Joe Biden is looking to change the country’s stance on immigration.
Shortly after his inauguration, Biden signed executive orders to address family separation at the U.S.-Mexico border, border security and legal immigration, expanding efforts to quickly undo changes to immigration policy over the last four years.
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Biden has ordered departments not to use certain terms when referring to noncitizens. According to official memos, which were confirmed by FOX News, departments are asked to avoid using the terms "illegal alien," "alien" and "assimilation." Instead, they are asked to use the terms "noncitizen or migrant," "undocumented" and "integration."
Biden also plans to lift his predecessor’s historically low cap on refugees by next month after initially moving only to expand the eligibility criteria for resettlements and getting swift blowback from allies in return.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.