Bush jokes he could speak on successors but ‘Michelle Obama might not be my friend’
"She kind of likes my sense of humor. Anybody who likes my sense of humor, I immediately like."
George W. Bush could throw shade at his presidential successors, but he said doing so would sour his relationship with former first lady Michelle Obama.
Speaking to Today show’s Hoda Kotb in a Tuesday interview, Bush admitted that he’s been tempted to publicly criticize Donald Trump and Barack Obama but said “If I did, Michelle Obama might not be my friend.”
An earlier report on theGRIO noted Bush’s new interview with CBS News‘ Norah O’Donnell, in which he spoke about his bond with Michelle Obama, and noted his shock over the public’s surprising reaction to their friendship.
“I think it’s a problem that Americans are so polarized in their thinking that they can’t imagine a George W. Bush and a Michelle Obama being friends,” he said. In 2017, Bush spoke to PEOPLE about their “genuine” friendship, saying, “She kind of likes my sense of humor. Anybody who likes my sense of humor, I immediately like.”
Over the years, Obama has spoken about her fondness for Bush and his family. During a December 2019 TODAY interview with his daughter, Jenna Bush Hager, Obama said that dropping guards to “let ourselves become vulnerable” allows everyone to truly connect.
Bush is dishing with the media this week to promote his new book “Out of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Immigrants.” During his CBS News interview, he addressed former President Trump’s strict immigration rules.
“The problem with the immigration debate is that one can create a lot of fear: They’re comin’ after you,” Bush said. “But it’s a nation that is willing to accept the refugee or the harmed or the frightened, that to me is a great nation. And we are a great nation.”
During his Today show conversation with Kotb, he told viewers that “The system really needs to be reformed and fixed,” and that migrants need “more judges and more courts so people can have a fair hearing.”
He added that “we need to change the work visas.”
“It’s a beautiful country we have,” Bush said. “And yet it’s not beautiful when we condemn and call people names and scare people about immigration.”
When O’Donnell asked if serving as President of the United States was a humbling experience, Bush replied: “Totally. To me, humility shows an understanding of self. It shows a belief in a higher power that is necessary to be an effective leader. And we were short of humility.”
He also spoke about the differences between himself and fellow Republican Donald Trump.
“I feel a responsibility to uphold the dignity of the office,” Bush told O’Donnell. “I did then, and I do now. And I think it’s undignified to wanna see my name in print all the time. I think it basically sends a signal that I miss being famous and, you know, I want people to see me. Listen to me And, you know, I don’t. I really don’t.”
*Additonally reporting by Ashley Terrell
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