Former presidents often avoid criticizing their successors in office, but George W. Bush has broken from that trend this week. In response to a question about Donald Trump referring to the mainstream media as the enemy of the American people, Bush defended the media’s key role as a democratic check on power:
I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy—that we need an independent media to hold people like me to account. I mean, 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, whether it be here or elsewhere.
Bush noted that undermining the press at home damages our ability to promote freedom of the press abroad.
Bush also said that “we all need answers,” in response to a question of whether or not there is a need for an investigation into the connection between the Russian government and the Trump presidential campaign.
President Bush also set himself apart from President Trump by drawing a clear distinction between Islam as a whole and the (Islamist) ideologues who murder the innocent.
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