Former President George W. Bush called today’s Republican Party “isolationist, protectionist, and to a certain extent, nativist” in an interview with NBC’s Today show on Tuesday.

“It’s not exactly my vision,” he said. “But, you know, I’m just an old guy they put out to pasture.”

Bush affirmed that a moderate Republican politician, who supports increased funding for education and rights for undocumented workers, could be the ideal candidate for the party’s 2024 presidential primary. “I think if the emphasis is integrity and decency and trying to work to get problems solved, I think the person has a shot,” he said.

On Tuesday, Bush himself welcomed 30 new U.S. citizens at a naturalization ceremony on Rockefeller Plaza, marking his support for a path to citizenship. “It’s a beautiful country we have,” he said. “And yet, it’s not beautiful when we condemn [and] call people names and scare people about immigration. It’s an easy issue to frighten some of the electorate. And I’m trying to have a different kind of voice.”


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Bush has also been working toward a bipartisan immigration reform proposal.

When asked about the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, Bush said, “it did make me sick. I felt ill. And I just couldn’t believe it. What’s really troubling is how much misinformation there is and the capacity of people to spread all kinds of untruth. And I don’t know what we’re going to do about that.”

Though Bush denounced the Capitol riots, he has been hesitant in recent years to publicly condemn former President Donald Trump.

Bush expressed his disapproval of President Joe Biden’s move to remove U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11.

Bush said he is “deeply concerned about the plight of women and girls” in Afghanistan, saying that they will have “real trouble with the Taliban” when U.S. forces are removed from the country.

“I think the administration hopes that the girls are going to be okay through diplomacy. We’ll find out. All I know is the Taliban, when they had their run of the place, they were brutal. Brutal,” Bush said.

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