Nearly one year after the 2016 presidential elections, two former U.S. presidents are finally offering their public assessment of America's newest elected leader — and it's not exactly flattering. In the upcoming book, The Last Republicans, which explores the terms of both Bush presidents, former President George H.W. Bush reportedly calls Trump a "blowhard" and reveals that he voted for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in last year's elections.
“I don’t like him,” Bush says of Trump in the book, which will be released later this month. “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.”
The elder Bush went on to say that he believed Trump was motivated by "“a certain ego" that would ultimately be damaging to the Republican party and the country.
His son, George W. Bush, who assumed the presidency just over a decade after his father, had similar feelings about Trump. Historian Mark Updegrove, who penned the book on the father-son leaders, wrote that Bush believes that Trump lacks "humility," and that he said of Trump during the campaign, "This guy doesn't know what it means to be president."
Bush reportedly did not vote for Clinton last year, but instead opted to select "none of the above" on his ballot.
This is the first time that both former presidents have spoken out publicly to disavow President Trump.
The Last Republicans is the first book about the Bushes that was penned with their cooperation. Updegrove communicated regularly with the former presidents throughout the 2016 elections, which gave him a rare glimpse into the minds of two of the most influential Republicans in modern history as they watched a political outsider become their successor. In fact, the title of the book refers to a somber disclosure the elder Bush confessed to the author: "I'm worried that I will be the last Republican president."
Updegrove told the New York Times that, while Bush was worried that Clinton would win the election at the time he made the statement, his words carry even more weight now that Trump has assumed the presidency and completely denounced many of the values and ideals espoused by the Bushes and the Republican party they spent their lives shaping.
"If you look at [George W. Bush's] values and those shared by his father and Ronald Reagan, they are very much in contrast to the values of the Republican Party today," Updegrove said. "In particular the platform that Donald Trump ran on, which is essentially protectionism and a certain xenophobia.”
The Bushes understandably have some strong feelings about President Trump. The two men spent nearly a combined two decades leading the country and defining the GOP's core values and priorities, only to have Trump take the reins with a rogue leadership style that often leaves him refusing to accept advise from even his most senior officials. According to Updegrove, the younger Bush was particularly irked when Trump declared, "I am my own advisor" in March.
Although this is the family's first public rebuke of Trump, the younger Bush did reference Trump's dangerous branch of "nativism," without mentioning the president by name, in a speech at a conference earlier this month.
“We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism, forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America,” Bush said. “We’ve seen the return of isolationist sentiments, forgetting that American security is directly threatened by the chaos and despair of distant places.”
He also made reference to recent waves of white supremacist rallies across the country, stating that "“bigotry seems emboldened” in our current political climate.
Given that the Bushes have since decided to come forward with on-the-record, and extremely candid assessments of President Trump, it's likely that the two former presidents will begin speaking out more fervently against many of Trump's more controversial policies moving forward.