Former President #George W Bush critiqued President Trump on Monday, claiming a difference in opinion with the President's attitude to immigration and the press. He also said that any exchange between the Trump administration and Russia needs to be investigated as a matter of civic recourse.

In a television interview on the Today show, Mr. Bush, promoting his new book of paintings, suggested that the alleged contacts between #Russia and Trump's campaign employees warranted examination and clarification. This, after President Trump fired his national security adviser, Michael Flynn, for concealing critical information about his call with Russia’s ambassador to the US.

Mr Bush said that we all need answers, and that he would be comfortable deferring to Senator Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina about how best to conduct such an #important investigation. Bush praised Senator Bur, also a chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee as a “really good guy", and "an independent thinker," adding that he'd trust Burr's recommendations on a special prosecutor for the Russia-Trump matter.

Like many in his family, a mainstay of elite politics in the US, Bush showed no support for #Mr Trump during his campaign against Hillary Clinton, but he kept quiet on his own views and held tight to his belief that he shouldn't criticize any new president. He even congratulated Trump when he won and was seen standing front and nearly center at the inauguration last month, but his comments on Monday highlighted that he had serious differences in opinion with the Republican party’s present commander in chief.

His views on the treatment of the press

Careful not to mention #Donald Trump by name, Mr Bush was critical of the president’s views on the “fake news media” being the “enemy of the American people.”

He told Today host Matt Lauer that he believed the media are absolutely crucial to #democracy. “We need the media to hold people like me to account.

Discuss this news on Eunomia

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 also hinted that President Trump's deployment of combative language made it more difficult to ask and persuade authoritarian leaders like #Russia's President Putin to encourage and allow a free press.

It's hard, he said, to tell others to have what amounts to "an independent free press when we’re not willing to have one ourselves,” he added.

Mr Bush tempered his #indirect criticism of Trump with reminders that the first month of office is a difficult time, and not a long enough time to make a judgment on the overall tone of a presidency. “Secondly, I think you have to take the man for his word that he wants to unify the country, and we’ll see whether he’s able to do so.”

Since leaving the #White House, Mr Bush has spent his time painting and serving ex-military vets in order to express his gratitude to his country. Told by a friend that Winson Churchill took up painting when he was no longer the Prime Minister, Bush was inspired to do the same.

Tolerance and inclusivity encouraged

Mr Bush also advocated for acts and attitudes of tolerance when speaking about the temporary travel ban for those from seven Muslim countries. When he was president, Mr. Bush visited mosques after the #September 11 attacks and was careful to impart to the people that America was not at war against Islam. Asked whether he supported a ban on any Muslim people, he said that he supports a welcoming and inclusive immigration policy that also upholds the law.

Speaking of religious and spiritual tolerance and #diversity, he said that it is important to recognize that one of the country's biggest strengths is our ability to worship how we want or not at all. “I mean the bedrock of our #freedom – a bedrock of our freedom is the right to worship freely.”