WASHINGTON – Former President George W. Bush he asked Americans on Saturday to put aside party differences, heed the advice of medical professionals and show empathy for those affected by the coronavirus and the ensuing economic devastation.
In a three-minute video message, Bush, who rarely speaks up about current events, emitted a tone of unity that contrasted with the more combative approach sometimes taken by President Trump, as the former president evoked a sense of solidarity national in the country. after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
"Let's remember how small our differences are in the face of this shared threat" Bush said in the professionally produced video against music and photographs of medical workers helping victims of the virus and ordinary Americans wearing masks. “Ultimately, we are not party fighters. We are human beings, equally vulnerable and equally wonderful in the eyes of God. We grow or fall together and are determined to rise. "
Although Bush never mentioned Trump's name, the incumbent president clearly understood the message as an implicit rebuke and attacked his predecessor on Sunday. In a Twitter message, Trump quoted a Fox News personality as saying, "Oh, by the way, I appreciate the message from ex-President Bush, but where he was during the impeachment asking to put aside partisanship."
Trump added in his own voice: "He was nowhere to be found against the greatest hoax in American history!"
Bush's message was part of a series of videos aired online as part of a 24-hour live broadcast project, "The call to unite, ”Which also featured Oprah Winfrey, Tim Shriver, Julia Roberts, Martin Luther King III, Sean Combs, Quincy Jones, Naomi Judd, Andrew Yang and others.
Former President Bill Clinton also delivered a message, speaking on a camera in what appeared to be a video chat at his home. "We need each other and we do better when we work together," he said. “This has never been more clear to me, as I have seen the courage and dignity of first responders, health professionals, all the people who are helping them to provide our food, our transportation, our basic services to other essential workers. "
Trump refused to call on his predecessors to help unite the country during the pandemic, which now claimed more than 66,000 lives in the United States and put more than 30 million people unemployed. Former presidents made a point of enlisting former White House occupiers from both parties in times of crisis to demonstrate determination and national unity.
Bush recruited his father, former President George Bush and Clinton to respond to a devastating tsunami in Asia and then to Hurricane Katrina. President Barack Obama asked the young Bush and Clinton to respond to an earthquake in Haiti.
Trump, meanwhile, has rejected the idea to call on your predecessors for help, whether to participate or even to offer advice. "I don't think I'm going to learn much," he said when asked about the idea in March. "I think you could say that there is probably a natural inclination not to care."
Bush was never a fan of his fellow Republican president. Trump defeated his brother, Jeb Bush, by the nomination in 2016 and repeatedly criticized the 43rd president. Bush refused to support Trump that fall, saying he had voted "none of the above". Although disturbed by Trump's leadership, Bush has remained silent ever since with some notable exceptions, such as a speech in New York it is a compliment to Senator John McCain that were seen as implicit reprimands by the proprietor.
In his video message on Saturday, Bush recalled the difficult days after 9/11. "Let us remember that we have faced testing times before," he said, as images flashed on his screen comforting relatives of those killed in the region. attacks. “After 9/11, I saw a great nation appear as one to honor the brave, to suffer with those who suffer, and to embrace new inevitable duties. And I have no doubt that this spirit of service and sacrifice is alive and well in America. "
Bush also asked for compassion, a trait that Trump largely avoided during the pandemic in favor of demonstrating what he considers strength and optimism. "Let us remember that empathy and simple kindness are essential powerful tools of national recovery," said Bush. He added: "Let's remember that the suffering we experience as a nation does not fall evenly."