George W Bush warns Republicans 'won't have a future' if party stands for 'White Anglo-Saxon Protestantism'

Speaking on the crisis at the border, Bush said: 'I think the change of administrations enabled the coyotes and the propagandists and the exploiters to say, 'Alright, now we can get you in'


                            George W Bush warns Republicans 'won't have a future' if party stands for 'White Anglo-Saxon Protestantism'
Former president George W Bush has expressed concerns over the future of the Republican Party (Getty Images)

Former president George W Bush has a word of caution for the Republican party. According to him, the GOP needs to reach out to a more diverse coalition of voters if it wants to return to power. At the moment, the party stands for “White Anglo-Saxon Protestantism”, he said. The party is witnessing a serious split between the loyalists of former president Donald Trump and those who are more in conformity with the traditional Republican line of thought. The Republican Party received a severe jolt in 2020 as it lost the presidency and the control of the Senate besides failing to regain the House from the Democrats. 

Last week, the veteran leader said in an interview with The Dispatch Podcast: “If the Republican Party stands for exclusivity - you know, it used to be country clubs, now evidently it’s White Anglo-Saxon Protestantism - then it's not going to win anything.” Bush, who served at the White House as the 43rd president between 2001 and 2009, has been promoting his new book of paintings ‘Out of Many, One: Portraits of America's Immigrants’ and according to many, it is his own way of pushing back on the anti-immigrant rhetoric of Trump whose tenure came to an end in January after one term. Incidentally, Trump is the first president since Bush’s father -- George H W Bush -- to end up as a single-term US president. Bush himself refused to endorse Trump in last year’s election. 

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“My whole point on all this immigration debate and stuff is, I think if we valued life as precious and every life matters, that we’re all God’s children, that all of a sudden the tone of the debate might be a little better,” Bush told hosts Sarah Isgur, who worked in the justice department when Trump was the president and Steve Hayes, the former editor-in-chief of The Weekly Standard on April 29. “I mean, I was discouraged when I saw some of the language associated with immigrants and wanted to present a different side,” the former POTUS said. 

Georgia GOP Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene (Getty Images)

On the topic of a recent initiative from far-right GOP lawmaker Marjorie Taylor Greene to form a House ‘America First’ caucus which backs ‘Anglo-Saxon political traditions’ on the question of immigration, Isgur asked Bush whether the Republican Party would have followed that path for the next three to five years if he was still a member of the party. 

“No I’d say there’s not going to be a party. You know, to me that basically says that we want to be extinct,” Bush said visibly alarmed. Hayes, on the other hand, suggested that there were more Republicans who backed those beliefs now than when Bush was the head of the party. Bush also said in the interview that he is still a proud Republican and was optimistic that the GOP would regain control of the power center. The Republican Party’s next big challenge lies in November 2022 when the midterm elections will be held. 

“I think Republicans will have a second chance to govern, because I believe that the Biden administration is a uniting factor, and particularly on the fiscal side of things. So, you know, we’ll see,” Bush said, expressing a particular concern on inflation. 

Bush blames himself for immigration bill not getting through Congress in 2006

The former president also spoke on the issue of immigration, something the current Democratic administration has struggled to contain at the southern border and given the GOP an issue to capitalize on. He also blamed both the Senate Democratic leadership and himself for not clearing a comprehensive immigration bill in the Congress in 2006. 

“In 2006, if I could lay blame, it’d be to the Democratic leadership of the Senate for refusing to allow a bill to go forward without the amendment process,” the 74-year-old said, adding: “Now, the reason I say it’s a regret is because it’s my fault. I tried to reform Social Security before reforming immigration.”

A man looks upon the Rio Grande while waiting to show his immigration documents to U.S. immigration officers at the U.S.-Mexico border crossing on February 23, 2021 in Matamoros, Mexico. (Getty Images)

Speaking on the current crisis at the border, Bush said: “I think the change of administrations enabled the coyotes and the propagandists and the exploiters to say, “Alright, now we can get you in”.”

Bush, who now lives in Texas, has over the years highlighted the immigrant community in the state and has often praised the country’s immigrant history while backing immigration policies. “I fully understand the populist angst that comes with the immigration debate,” he told The Dispatch. 

Bush has also found himself relevant at this time with the Biden administration deciding to pull American troops out of Afghanistan where they have remained stuck since the former president ordered an invasion in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks just months after he took over.