Former President George W. Bush reportedly gave a sharp rebuke of the foreign policy of GOP nominee Donald Trump, without naming the business mogul, during a private fundraiser.
On August 2, during a Cincinnati fundraiser for Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, President Bush spoke for roughly 20 minutes before 400 attendees, MarketWatch reports.
While no transcript of the former president’s remarks has been released, several attendees stated that the president blasted the policies of “isolationism, nativism and protectionism.”
Bush reportedly did not name Trump, but his criticisms appeared to aim squarely at the GOP nominee’s policies on trade, immigration and upholding U.S. commitments to foreign allies.
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“It was an interesting exercise of statecraft,” said former Secretary of State Ken Blackwell of Ohio. “No one could say he directly spoke in attack mode against Donald Trump. Neither could anybody miss the fact the he thought there were some cutting-edge issues that Trump is advancing that need to be scrutinized and debated.”
Trump has previously been a vocal critic of the Bush administration. During a Republican primary debate in February 2016, the business mogul lambasted the former president in front of his brother, former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida.
“Obviously, the war in Iraq was a big, fat mistake,” Trump said, according to CBS News.
The business mogul took his criticism further, accusing the Bush cabinet of intentionally deceiving the American public about the reason for initiating the Iraq War.
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“They lied,” Trump asserted. “They said there were weapons of mass destruction, there were non. And they knew there were none.”
Former cabinet members and staffers of the Bush administration have been split over whether or not to support Trump’s presidential campaign.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, the former White House chief of staff Andy Card, and former press secretary Tony Fratto have been critical of Trump, MSNBC reports. Fratto is even a vocal advocate of the "Never-Trump" movement.
Meanwhile, former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld have voiced support for the GOP nominee. Former Bush adviser Karl Rove has blasted the business mogul previously but has not ruled out endorsing him.
In May 2016, Jeb Bush delivered a speech in Amsterdam slamming Trump for his rhetoric and policies and expressed dismay that GOP voters had responded to his message, CNN reports.
“What I fear is that people, kind of looking down their nose, will say the people that are supporting Donald Trump are a bunch of idiots,” Jeb Bush said. “They’re not. They’re legitimately scared. They’re fearful.”
The former Florida governor added that Trump was “preying on people’s angst rather than offering tangible solutions.”