While appearing on The TODAY Show to discuss his “Portraits of Courage” project honoring veterans, former President George W. Bush discussed President Donald Trump and weighed in on some of the nation’s most popular conversations about the new administration. Bush spoke with NBC’s Matt Lauer about the mainstream media, Russia, immigration, and more.
“I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy,” Bush said. “That we need the 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 added that he attempted to get Russian President Vladimir Putin “to accept the notion of an independent press.”
“It’s kind of hard to, you know, tell others to have an independent free press when we’re not willing to have one ourselves,” he continued.
While on the topic of Russia, Lauer asked if the former President believed that there should be a special prosecutor to investigate whether Trump campaign staffers had inappropriate communications with Moscow during the Presidential election.
“I think we all need answers,” Bush replied.
“Whether or not the special prosecutor’s the right way to go or not, you’re talking to the wrong guy,” he continued. “I have great faith in (Senator) Richard Burr for example, he’s the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, really good guy, and an independent thinker. And if he were to recommend a special prosecutor then It’d have a lot more credibility with me.”
Bush was asked what he thinks of Trump’s temporary travel ban.
“I think it’s very important, for all of us, to recognize one our great strengths is for people to worship the way they want to or not worship at all,” he said. “I mean the bedrock of our freedom-a bedrock of our freedom is the right to worship freely.”
When asked whether he would favor an entire Muslim ban he is “for an immigration policy that’s welcoming and upholds the law.”
Bush added that Trump has the potential to unify the country and we should give him the chance to prove himself.
“Well, first of all, there’s only been one month in office,” he said. “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.”
Bush added that the division in the United States in the 1960’s was “much worse than today.”
You can check out the interview below: