“I don’t like the racism and I don’t like the name-calling and I don’t like the people feeling alienated,” the 70-year-old told the magazine. “Nobody likes that.”
Though Trump has repeatedly claimed he’s the “least racist person,” many argue his actions say otherwise. Before his political career, the Justice Department had twice sued a Trump company in the 1970s for not renting to black people. In recent years, he was the driving force behind the birther movement, the conspiracy theory that former President Barack Obama wasn’t born in the U.S. He also kicked off his 2016 presidential campaign by referring to Mexican immigrants as “rapists.”
The 43rd president, who had been reluctant to come down hard on Trump, told People that the Bush Center is involved with initiatives that appear to counter the new administration’s policies. He listed several events at the presidential library and museum, such as pro-immigration programs and leadership training for Muslim women, to highlight the work.
“There’s a lot of ways to speak out,” Bush told People, “but it’s really through actions defending the values important to [my wife Laura] and me. … We’re a blessed nation, and we ought to help others.”
“I am for an immigration policy that is welcoming and upholds the law,” Bush told NBC’s “Today” show.
Several federal judges have ruled against the measure. The president was expected to issue a new executive order on immigration this Wednesday.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story mischaracterized a quote from former President George W. Bush to Matt Lauer about the 9/11 attacks. The quote has been removed.