While he urged Americans to remain open to giving President Donald Trump a chance, former Republican President George W. Bush publicly disagreed with some of Trump's opinions and actions in an interview that aired on Feb. 27.
When asked during the interview with "Today" if Trump was doing anything to unite the country as he said he would, Bush reminded viewers that Trump had only been in office for a month.
"I think you've got to take the man at his word that he wants to unite the country," he said.
Bush also empathized with Trump, adding that it was difficult to unite the country with so many outlets relaying different information, noting there were far fewer when he was in office.
While it appears he is still giving Trump a chance, the former president did not shy away from disagreeing with Trump's attitude towards the media and other issues.
When asked if he, like Trump, ever considered the media an "enemy of the people," Bush said he considered it "indispensable to democracy" despite the intense criticism he received.
"We needed the media to hold people like me to account," Bush said.
"Power can be very addictive and it can be corrosive, and it's important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power," he continued.
Even when conversation turned to Russia, Bush continued to emphasize the importance of a free press.
The former president recalled how he spent much time in office echoing such sentiments to Putin.
"It's kind of hard to tell others to have an independent free press when we're not willing to have one ourselves," he said about Trump's criticism of the media.
Additionally, Bush briefly touched on Trump's possible connections to Russian hackers during the election.
"I think we all need answers," he said, but noted he is not certain what the appropriate next steps are as he is not a lawyer.
The former president also commented on Trump's approach to Muslims.
Bush, who once urged the country to embrace Muslims and call Islam a "peaceful" faith after 9/11, said "people who murder the innocent are not religious people."
But when asked about Trump's controversial travel ban, he gave a less clear-cut answer.
"I am for an immigration policy that is welcoming and upholds the law," he vaguely responded when asked if he supported or opposed the ban on immigration from six Muslim-majority nations.
While Bush's criticism of the president was relatively gentle, those who worked with Bush in the past have openly expressed their disdain towards Trump, reports The Atlantic.
Former strategist Karl Rove, who worked in the Bush administration, called Trump “a complete idiot” in the past, while Colin Powell, who served as secretary of state under Bush, supported Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.