Former President George W. Bush, who vigorously opposed Donald Trump's Presidential candidacy in 2016, stated on NBC's "Today Show" with Matt Lauer that he believes in a "Free Press." Bush was responding to a question about what he thought of President Trump's attack on the media and his unrelenting assertions that "the media is the enemy of the American People," (ABC News, 2/27/17). Bush asserted that "power can be corrosive" and that "It is important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power," (ABC News, 2/27/17).

Bush's quiet admonishment of Trump

In his responses to questions on the "Today Show," the former president was offering a quiet but not too subtle admonishment of Donald Trump and his positions on the free press and immigration. Bush was referring to Trump's attacks on the media and his exclusion of leading media outlets from White House press briefings, including the New York Times, Politico, BuzzFeed and the Los Angeles Times. Although the former president from Texas did not directly criticize Trump for his anti-media assertions and policies, his message was explicitly clear: A free press, in a true democracy, is allowed to flourish in its quest for the truth and its pursuit of the facts. Managing, limiting or hindering the free press is not commensurate with the scope and spirit of democracy.

Bush also expressed his belief that "power can be very addictive," (ABC News, 2/17/17). Bush then issued his warning that power also can be very "corrosive." Once again, the implication was very clear: Although a free press explicitly helps a democracy to flourish, the suppression of the free press is "corrosive" and indicative of tyranny.

Discuss this news on Eunomia

Ironically, Former Presidential candidate and current GOP Senator John McCain recently described Trump's attacks and attempts to limit the press, as "flirting with authoritarianism," (ABC News, 2/17/17).

A "welcoming" immigration policy

Upon being questioned about Trump' immigration policies pertaining to Muslims, Bush provided a rather meandering reply.

The former President stated that America's policies on Muslims cannot be "effective if we are in retreat," (ABC News, 2/2717). He also stated that it is vital that the United States "project strength" in its fight against ISIS if it is to win. However, when pressed for answers by Lauer for his thoughts on Trump's anti-Muslim immigration policy, Bush stated, “I'm for an immigration policy that's welcoming and upholds the law,”(ABC News, 2/27/17). It would appear that there are at least some discrepancies in the positions of both men (Trump and Bush) by virtue of the fact that Bush called for a "welcoming" immigration policy.Trump's anti-Muslim policy, most would agree, does not appear to be very welcoming.

Trump's ties to Russia; no special prosecutor

When asked about his position on the issue of Trump's ties to Russia and its despotic leader Vladimir Putin, Bush stated, “I think we all need answers,” (ABC News, 2/27/17). However, when asked about the need for a special prosecutor to investigate the matter, Bush was unsure if that was the proper course of action. The former President did, however, assert his confidence in Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, (R, N.C.) and his ability to investigate the matter. Bush was not at all reluctant to support a full-scale Senate investigation led by Burr. As Bush himself stated, the "question needs to be answered."